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Paint Analysis

The current ongoing restoration work on Tower Bridge involves the removal of all earlier layers of paint in order to ensure the complete adherence of the new paint. It was important to record the decorative history before all evidence was lost. Patrick Baty of Papers and Paints was tasked to carry out the paint research. (Watch Paint Analysis video)

Samples of paint were taken and documentary and photographic records in the London Metropolitan Archives were examined.

The documentary and photographic records in the London Metropolitan Archives were examined

Some examples of the photographic records in the London Metropolitan Archives

 

Representative elements were taken to establish the decorative history

Representative elements were taken to establish the decorative history

 

Samples were removed with a hammer and chisel

Samples were removed with a hammer and chisel

 

Paint sample removed for analysis

Paint sample removed for analysis

 

Each sample was numbered and placed in small bags

Each sample was numbered and placed in small bags

 

The best of the samples were selected and placed in moulds with a label to identify them

The best of the samples were selected and placed in moulds with a label to identify them

 

Close-up of paint sample

Close-up of paint sample

 

The paint flakes were placed in half-filled moulds. Quick-setting resin was poured over them, and they were left to harden

The paint flakes were placed in half-filled moulds. Quick-setting resin was poured over them, and they were left to harden (Drawing by Catherine Hassall)

 

Paint sample in resin block

Paint sample in harden resin block

 

The resin blocks were cut through and polished

The resin blocks were cut through and polished (Drawing by Catherine Hassall)

 

The resisn block after it has be cut

The two sections before being polished

 

Polished resin block containing paint sample

The polished resin block containing paint sample

 

Examination was carried out using different microscopes

Examination was carried out using different microscopes

 

Cross section from Helm

Cross section from Helm

 

Photomicrograph of sample taken from Lamp stand, which has been digitally enlarged by 200x

Photomicrograph of sample T13R/4 (x200 digitally enlarged) which was taken from lamp standard No 12: Frieze of capital

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