Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science

NICAS Colloquium

12Jan2017 12:00 - 13:00


We are very pleased to announce the next edition of the NICAS Colloquium on Thursday 12 January from 12.00 to 13.00 hrs. The colloquium will take place in conference room B of the Atelier Building (Hobbemastraat 22, Amsterdam).

The chair of this colloquium will be Birgit Reissland (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands), researcher.

The presenters during the colloquium are:


  • Alessa Gambardella - Ultramarine Disease as Influenced by Pigment Preparation

Ultramarine is a highly-valued, brilliant blue pigment that has been used in cultural heritage objects across many cultures for over a thousand years. The blue pigment is naturally obtained from the mineral lazurite, which is the main component in the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli, and was eventually produced synthetically in the early 19th century. Used as an oil paint, ultramarine is observed in some instances to cause a degradation phenomenon known as “ultramarine sickness” or “ultramarine disease.” This research project is interested in understanding the mechanism of ultramarine paint degradation and determining a means to identify and prevent the onset of such degradation.

Alessa Gambardella  is a postdoctoral scientific researcher at the Rijksmuseum funded by Akzo Nobel and a guest postdoctoral fellow at the University of Amsterdam. Previously, she completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Conservation Science (2013-2015) at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), where she collaborated with conservators of the J. Paul Getty Museum on technical analyses as well as researched the provenance of lapis lazuli with X-ray absorption near-edge structure spectroscopy (XANES) and the stability of wax coatings for outdoor bronze sculptures. Prior to her postdoctoral positions, she received her Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under Dr. Royce W. Murray (2013) and held internships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the GCI, and the Library of Congress. 


  • Norman Tennent - DELFTGLAZE: Chemical analysis and colour science of Dutch tin-glazed earthenware for the benefit of art history and conservation

DELFTGLAZE is addressing issues of Dutch blue and white glazes, in particular the scope of elemental composition for answering art historical questions and the influence of composition on the range of blue hues. Laser ablation - inductively coupled plasma - mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) and X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry (XRF) are being utilised in combination to understand the relationship between elemental composition and glaze colour as well as the period/location of manufacture. The conservation of blue ceramic glazes is beset by the problem of metamerism. This is being tackled by 'computer match pigment selection' in order to achieve in-painting with perfectly matching blue hues in all lighting conditions.

Norman Tennent  is Emeritus Professor of Conservation Science at UvA. Throughout Norman's career, technical art history and conservation science of ceramics and glass have been at the heart of his research interests. Norman's research on blue and white glazes began more than 20 years ago. 10 years later it won the United Kingdom award for conservation research and it is now nearing fruition through the NICAS DELFTGLAZE project. Norman's motto for conservation research is 'slow but sure’!

More information about the NICAS Colloquium can be found here.

Published by  NICAS