Sutherland Conservation & Consulting paint sample photo

Project Spotlight

Image 200X Reflected UV Light

200X Reflected UV Light

1832 James Smith hand pump fire engine

Cross-section sample showing the importance of UV light for the identification of varnish layers.


Paint analysis utilizes microscopy techniques to identify the layer structure and composition of finishes that have been applied to buildings, vehicles, furniture, paintings and objects. It involves studying the object at 10X-45X magnification with a binocular microscope, removing and casting samples, and cross-section analysis of the cast samples at 100X, 200X and 400X magnification in reflected visible and UV light. The pigment composition of a target paint layer is identified utilizing transmitted plane and crossed polarized light at high magnification with pigment dispersion samples. Color matches to target paint layers can be made to the Munsell color system and commercial paints including Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, California and Fine Paints of Europe.

For more information on paint research, analysis and conditions documentation, contact:

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