Recording Qut paintings in Asir, Saudi Arabia.

The Foundation, working with Art Jameel, has been on a fact finding mission that has involved the recording of some of the remaining examples of the delicate and discrete qut wall paintings. This image from Rijal Alma was recorded just before rebuilding was about to take place. As the country modernises and builds, the preservation of the remaining evidence of its deep cultural history is of great importance. Ali Moghawi was the guide for the visit. As always, in depth local knowledge is critical to an understanding of the specific challenges facing the protection of cultural heritage in the region. The artist Ahmed Mater accompanied Adam Lowe, Gabriel Scrapa and James Macmillan Scott and provided a unique insight into the needs of contemporary artists in the region.

Recording in Jeddah

Factum Foundation’s Pedro Miró and Otto Lowe are currently in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), leading a pilot project with Art Jameel to document vernacular architecture and train local people in photogrammetry for cultural heritage preservation. In their first week of work,  they were able to record the surface of three traditional buildings in the old city by taking more than a 3,000 photographs at each site using both photogrammetry and the Faro Focus laser scanner. Preliminary processing demonstrates both the precision and adaptability of these two technologies. This week, they will record architectural ornaments and train students from Jameel House of Traditional Arts located in Al Balad, Jeddah.

Vandalism of Rock Art in Chad

Last week it was reported that one of the best examples of rock art in the Ennedi region, just outside the Guelta of Archei, has been vandalised again. Authorities suspect local youths have damaged the ancient cave paintings. Factum Foundation visited the site on its project with the Trust for African Rock Art in November 2016, as a part of a recording project to raise awareness about the threat posed to these sites. Click here for a report and photos of the incident.   

Read about Factum Foundation’s collaboration with TARA in Chad and in Nigeria. Explore the sites with high-resolution viewers. Read the BBC News Report here

New Facsimiles for Strawberry Hill House

Factum Foundation's collaboration with Strawberry Hill House is reaching critical mass. The facsimile of Allan Ramsay's portrait of Mrs. Laura Keppel and Charlotte, Lady Huntingtower in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is nearing completion and will be installed into the Gallery at Strawberry Hill House soon. The 33 drawings by George Vertue recorded along with their frames  at Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe last winter are being re-created. They were originally in Horace Walpole's collection and hung in the Holbein Chamber. The room has recently been restored and copies of the drawings in their specially designed frames will be returned very soon. These drawings are all copies of Holbein's portraits of the Tudor court at the time of Henry VIII. They are exquisitely observed manual copies of great sensitivity done at a time when printmakers like Vertue could copy with great skill. 

Learn more about the project here

The new book scanner is now in Daghestan

With the support of the Peri Foundation, the new Factum Foundation book scanner was installed last week at the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography (IHAE) in Makhachkala (Dagestan). The IHAE will start using this scanner to record their collection of over 3000 Islamic manuscripts, but this transfer of technology marks only the beginning of a long-term project that will eventually see the digitisation of an estimated 25,000 manuscripts held by private individuals, mosques, and madrasas in the region. Whilst the Factum team were in Makhachkala, Shamil Gadzhidadaev and Gennady Viktorov, two Dagestani photographers who learned 3D digital recording at Factum Arte (Madrid) in 2016, were themselves training two new photographers for another Peri/Factum project that will take place in northern Russia this summer. 

HRH The Prince of Wales inaugurates the Borgherini Chapel

Factum Foundation´s Borgherini Chapel is now on display at the exhibition Michelangelo and Sebastiano  (March 15 - June 25).  HRH The Prince of Wales attended the opening and admired the details that continue to dazzle journalists (see the articles by The Guardian and The Times). The Borgherini Chapel is a significant project that broadens the type of content that can be exhibited in a museum and prompts visitors to reconsider their notions of originality, authenticity and preservation as they view the re-creation alongside original works of art. 

Seti I update

After processing various datasets, the production of the facsimile of the tomb of Seti I is underway. The facsimile will be the part of an exhibition at the Antikenmuseum in Basel this summer focusing on the various efforts to restore, preserve and study Seti I. 

Click here to read a full report on work carried-out in 2016 in Egypt. 

Scanning a damaged Monet

As a result of a collaboration between the Factum Foundation, MoMa and NYU, Pedro Miró and Carlos Bayod recorded the surface of Water Lilies by Claude Monet on February 14-16. The canvas, measuring  approx. 175 x 200 cm.,  was heavily damaged during a fire at MoMA in 1958 and donated to NYU´s Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center for research. The high-resolution relief data captured a detailed record of surface´s fragile state. The data will be processed in an attempt to digitally restore the painting by reclaiming the colour and merging it with the surface data. Digital restoration offers an opportunity to separate subjective projections onto the artwork from physical interventions with the original. 

Students from MS Historic Preservation program of Columbia University participated in the recording as part of their fieldwork exercise.

Stoppelaere House Training Centre is now open

On February 17th the Egyptian Minister for Antiquities Khaled El Enany, the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova and Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner attended the opening of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative Training Centre – at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings just above Carter’s House and the facsimile of Tutankhamun’s Tomb.  The Stoppelaere House, designed by Hassan Fathy and built in 1951, has been completely renovated by the Foundation under architect Tarek Waly’s direction - equipment was moved in just ahead of the opening. The Centre will now train Egyptians to use digital technology in preservation – to preserve their own heritage. 

Routing the facsimile of the doors of Kala-Koreysh in oak

Factum Arte is in the process of routing the oak facsimile of the mosque doors at Kala-Koreysh (Daghestan), which were recorded using photogrammetry in May 2016 as a result of a collaboration between Factum Foundation and the Peri Foundation. The two pairs of original oak doors, which have been dated to the 12th-13th centuries, constitute one of the best examples of wood carving in Daghestani tradition. They were moved to a museum in Makhachkala in the 20th century and replaced at the mosque with simple wooden doors. The new doors are being routed in oak at the highest possible resolution for the carved area to fit the current frames, and the iron fittings altered to facilitate their reintegration into the mosque. Read about the team´s recording in Daghestan here.

The Cochno Stone: Revealed, recorded, reburied, rendered

Factum Foundation is proud to announce that the full excavation, 3D recording and safe reburial of the Cochno Stone is now complete. The project, thus far, has been a huge success. The Cochno Stone, located in West Dunbartonshire, is Scotland’s largest and best examples of Neolithic or Bronze Age cup and ring markings dating from 3000 to 2000 BC. The 8 x 13 m. stone, which was buried in 1965 to prevent it from being vandalised, was unearthed after 50 years in September and recorded by Factum´s Ferdinand Saumarez-Smith using high resolution short-range photogrammetry, as part of a collaboration between the University of Glasgow Archaeology Department and Factum Foundation - in close accord with the West Dunbartonshire Council, the Scottish Ten and Historic Environment Scotland. The 3D data has now been post-processed - the team hopes this will better their understanding of the stone´s history. and that it might shed some light on the reasons the markings were made. The team also hopes this project, which brought many members of the Scottish community together, will draw attention to one of Scotland’s most important but most neglected prehistoric sites. Factum Foundation´s goal is to produce a 1:1 facsimile, using a combination of recorded digital data and historical sources. 

Read the full project outline here and immerse yourself in high-res viewer here.

Image: 3D render of a small section of the Cochno Stone from data recorded using photogrammetry.

Priarc seminar in Oslo

On January 30-31, Adam Lowe and Tarek Waly discussed the legacy of Hassan Fathy and an exciting project to revitalise the mudbrick building tradition that inspired his approach to architecture at the workshop Images of Egypt part of the Printing the Past. Architecture, Print Culture, and Uses of the Past in Modern Europe (PriArc) series. Hassan Fathy Village in Gourna is in poor condition and needs a concerted effort to save. The Oslo School of Architecture and Design is running a project to focus the attention on Fathy’s important work. Fathy´s  Stoppelaere House has now been fully restored and will be opened as the 3D scanning, Archiving and training Centre on Frebruary 17th. 

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