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11 May 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm CEST


We would like to invite you to the seminar Unlocking Art History: Letterlocking, X-ray Microtomography, and the Virtual Unfolding Algorithm. This is the first of four seminars in the Technical Art History Series: Digital Imaging Methods for Cultural Heritage.


Please join us for the first lecture on Tuesday May 11, at 4-5.30 pm CET.
By scanning the QR code on the poster or by clicking on the button below, the registration form will open in your browser.



The Venice Center for Digital and Public Humanities, together with CWI Amsterdam and the Netherlands Institute for Conservation+ Art+ Science+, are organising a short series of lectures on object-based research, including virtual letter unfolding, digital art restoration, 3D modeling and software for the analysis of diverse data forms, with the aim to stimulate collaborations and scientific discussion on Cultural Heritage challenges in the digital world.




Jana Dambrogio (Thomas F. Peterson Conservator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries)

Daniel Starza Smith (Lecturer in Early Modern English Literature, King’s College London)

Holly Jackson (Junior researcher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

David Mills (Dental Institute, Queen Mary University of London)



Before the invention of the gummed envelope in the 1830s, almost all letters were sent using letterlocking, the practice of folding and securing a writing surface to become its own envelope. Based on 20 years research into 250,000 letters, cutting-edge x-ray technology, and a new computational algorithm, this talk and workshop will present findings published in a recent Nature Communications article, ‘Unlocking history through automated virtual unfolding of sealed documents imaged by X-ray microtomography’. We will also reflect on some of the potential applications to paintings and other cultural heritage objects. There will also be an opportunity to do some letterlocking yourself! Please bring some paper (printer paper is fine), scissors, some stickers or sticky tape (kids’ stickers are more fun!), and some sewing thread.


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11 May 2021
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm CEST
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