The Egyptian National Commission for UNESCO gives its patronage to the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative
The Egyptian National Commission for UNESCO gives its patronage to the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative

The Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative and its ongoing training programme through the 3D Scanning, Training and Archiving Centre at Stoppelaëre House received the patronage of the Egyptian National Commission for UNESCO.

The TNPI is being run by an entirely Egyptian team supported by Factum Foundation, producing some of the best 3D data that is possible with today's technology. Resolution is vital for many uses that are emerging. The correspondence between the 3D data and the relief carving in the tomb of Seti I makes it essential for condition monitoring and assessing of the vulnerability of the painted walls. In Madrid, we are constantly working to improve both the resolution and the speed at which the data is recorded.

Factum Foundation needs support to carry out the varied and important projects we are generating. Both support for specific projects and more general support is welcomed. If you would like to contact us directly, please write to Adam Lowe at or call +34 915 50 09 78.

Factum Foundation is developing both hardware and software that are having a real impact on preservation and interpretation. It was the high-resolution recording in the burial chamber of Tutankhamun that enabled Nicholas Reeves to develop his theories. A new paper by Reeves has recently been published on

The campaign to save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry

The Tower Hamlets Planning Committee meeting to decide the future of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, due to happen on 30 July, was differed. It may happen in September / October, but it is hoped that the developer and the council will realise that there is a clear proposal on the table to retain this historic site as a full working bell foundry. Factum Foundation’s mission is to merge new technology and traditional skills. The bell foundry offers many opportunities for this approach, both in making new bells and preserving existing ones.

Read the article published in the Daily Mail on 05/08/19.
Listen to this podcast on BBC Radio (starts at 01:18:00 - 16/08/19).

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Recording Michelangelo's <i> Epifania </i> at the British Museum
Recording Michelangelo's Epifania at the British Museum

On 29 July, Adam Lowe and Carlos Bayod participated in a Study Workshop at the British Museum and presented the results from the recording of Michelangelo's Epifania cartoon.

A few weeks earlier, Factum Foundation used high-resolution 3D scanning to digitise the surface of Michelangelo's Epifania (1550-1553), a collaboration with the Department of Collections Care at the British Museum.

The results of the 3D scan were mapped onto other datasets, including the colour recorded at a resolution of more than 850dpi by Gabriel Scarpa, UV, IR and other historical images to create a layered archive of information that can be used for in-depth research into the cartoon's creation and history.

For the week-long recording, the fragile cartoon could only be positioned flat on a purpose-built supporting platform, which meant Factum had to design a new horizontal configuration for the Lucida 3D Laser Scanner, to enable the digitisation of this large-scale object.

Save the date: Conversation at Spencer House
Save the date: Conversation at Spencer House

On 23 Sept., Factum Foundation's Adam Lowe and exhibition designer Charlotte Skene Catling will be in conversation with Jonathan Jones about how technology is being used to enhance our understanding of art history, enabling masterpieces which have been victims of circumstance or history to be seen as they were once intended.

In this talk, Adam Lowe will describe the processes and possibilities of digital recording and reproduction, and consider the relationship between originality and authenticity and issues relating to data ownership and sharing.

Book now!

The lost silver map of Al-Idrisi

Factum Foundation’s recreation of the lost silver map of Al-Idrisi is now complete. The map, a reconstruction of a lost 12th-century original following a 16th-century Ottoman copy, was exhibited at Daniel Crouch Rare Books at the Masterpiece London art fair, and will be on view at the exhibition ‘Talking Maps’ at the Bodleian Library in Oxford until 8th March 2020.

The 12th-century cartographer Al-Idrisi drew on centuries of Greek, Roman, and Islamic mapmaking knowledge to create a vast silver map of the world for Roger II of Sicily. Although the silver disc is now lost, Al-Idrisi’s geography is known through later copies of a book of 70 regional maps which he created to accompany it.

Over the past three years, Factum Foundation has used the most advanced digital technologies to create a new interpretation of Al-Idrisi’s map, which has been routed onto silver using CNC milling. Find out more about the history of the map and the technologies used to recreate it here

Recording a 19th-century relief map of Jerusalem
Recording a 19th-century relief map of Jerusalem

In July 2019, a team from Factum Foundation used photogrammetry to record a 1:500 scale model of Jerusalem - the first topographic relief to aim for scientific accuracy. The hand-painted zinc model, which measures 4.5x5m, was made between 1864 and 1873 by a Hungarian Catholic bookbinder, Stephen Illés, and shows the city when it was still under Ottoman rule before the British Mandate divided it into four quarters.

A sensation at the 1873 World’s Fair in Vienna, the map was eventually purchased by public subscription in Geneva and displayed there for four decades. In 1984, it was sent on permanent loan from the Maison de la Réformation S.A. in Geneva to the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem, where it is currently on display. Factum Foundation has recorded the relief for ARCH (Alliance to Restore Cultural Heritage in Jerusalem).

Book launch: ‘Antonio Canova. Atelier’

A new book, Antonio Canova. Atelier, tells the story of the ongoing collaboration between Factum Foundation and the Musei Civici di Bassano del Grappa, a project which is transforming the conservation and display of drawings and sculptures by the neoclassical sculptor. The book has been edited by the museums’ director Chiara Casarin in collaboration with the founder of Factum Foundation Adam Lowe.

Since 2016, Factum Foundation has worked with the museums to digitise 18 of Canova’s albums and sketchbooks, create facsimiles of two albums and of a terracotta maquette of the Three Graces, and digitally restore a 4-metre high statue of a horse. You can find out more about these projects here.

The new volume tells the story of these artworks from their creation in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to their technological transformation today.

Purchase now.

Save the date: The unveiling of the sacred cave of Kamukuwaká
Save the date: The unveiling of the sacred cave of Kamukuwaká

On 19 Oct., the physical reconstruction of the vandalised sacred cave of Kamukuwaká will be unveiled at Factum's workshops in Madrid.

Akari, the Wauja's principal singer and Takuma, filmmaker and member of the Kuikuro people, as well as our collaborators from People's Palace Projects will be present to discuss the use of technology and traditional craftsmanship to preserve Indigenous Peoples' cultural heritage, under serious threat.

Learn more about the project here.

Watch the film.

Arte TV: Europe Time Machine, Historical Sites in Danger
Arte TV: Europe Time Machine, Historical Sites in Danger

Factum’s founder Adam Lowe was interviewed for a new mini-series by Arte TV about the Europe Time Machine (ETM), a project to use machine learning and big data technology to create a searchable, interactive archive of Europe’s heritage.

Initially focusing on six major cities (Venice, Budapest, Paris, Hamburg, Athens, Madrid), the project is creating dense archives of historical documents – letters, receipts and newspapers as well as “literary” or self-consciously “historical” texts – organised around contemporary maps rendered in 3D.

Factum Foundation works with DHLAB-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, one of the driving forces behind the ETM, on the initiative ARCHiVe. Located at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, ARCHiVe works on innovative ways of recording, processing, displaying, and storing data related to cultural heritage.

Watch the episode.

Learn more about ARCHiVe.

Developing new technologies for 3D scanning
Developing new technologies for 3D scanning

Factum Foundation is constantly looking for new ways to record accurate information of the surface of paintings. Currently in development is the photometric scanner, a fast, portable system that will be capable of recording high-resolution 3D surface texture for both visualisation and re-materialisation.

The scanning system will be based on the techniques known as photometric stereo. It uses computational methods to extract detailed information about the surface of an object using 2D images taken under specific lighting arrangements. Factum’s scanning system will integrate data from other 3D recording techniques with photometric-stereo-derived depth maps to produce 3D data with a closer correspondence to the original surface than currently captured by the Lucida 3D Scanner, designed by Manuel Franquelo with the team from Factum.

The research is being developed by Jorge Cano and Enrique Esteban and Abhijit Dhanda from the Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS) at Carleton University, Canada. Adam Weigert from CIMS has also made significant contributions to the development.

Digitisation workshop with students from ISIA Urbino
Digitisation workshop with students from ISIA Urbino

Carlos Bayod, Guendalina Damone and Otto Lowe from Factum Foundation's 3D scanning department organised and taught a five-day workshop focussing on non-contact recording technologies for cultural heritage to ten students from the Photography MA course from the design university ISIA Urbino.

The theory classes took place at ARCHiVe's studios at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, but the students were also able to take part in fieldwork recording projects at various institutions around Venice. The valuable data they scanned will be processed and shared in coming weeks, but will also find a permanent home in ARCHiVe's digital storage facilites and maye give rise to larger projects for the Centre. Learn more.

A late-15th-century altarpiece by the Maestro de Perea
A late-15th-century altarpiece by the Maestro de Perea

Factum Foundation is collaborating with Fundación Casa Ducal de Medinaceli on a new digital preservation project involving the surface and colour recording of a late-15th-century altarpiece known as the Retablo del Maestro de Perea. The recording was carried out with the aim of creating a database of the current state of conservation of the altarpiece, whose 14 panels have recently been restored by the Fundación, and will permit close study, wider dissemination, and possible reproduction as a conservation facsimile. The project follows previous collaborations with the Fundación Medinaceli involving the recording of the Sepulchre of Cardinal Tavera and architectural elements in Casa de Pilatos; a further exciting new collaboration will be announced soon.

A 3D scan of Fra Angelico's Annunciation

Fra Angelico’s The Annunciation (1425-26) depicts on the one hand the Archangel Gabriel's Annunciation to the Virgin and on the other the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. In the past year, the Annunciation has undergone a complex process of cleaning and conservation.

Factum Foundation contributed to the documentation effort by carrying out a high-resolution 3D recording of the painting following the restoration, which is of particular interest in this case due to the superb surface work executed by the artist. Learn more.

Parmigianino’s 'Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror'
Parmigianino’s 'Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror'

Factum Foundation was asked to create a facsimile of this work for MUMOK's exhibition ‘Vertigo. Op Art and a History of Deception 1520 –1970’ (25 May - 26 October 2019); this will explore the Op-Art movement of the 1960s and its roots in historical artistic movements that have contemplated the nature of perception and illusion, such as Mannerism. Parmigianino's Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror belongs to the collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and is on display in its Picture Gallery.

The painting plays cleverly with a convex mirror’s ability to offer a distorted representation of the person who looks into it. Parmigianino’s elaborate illusion, however, significantly complicated the rematerialisation process. This is because it is impossible to print colour directly onto a convex surface. Instead, Factum’s innovative print studio worked with a flexible adhesive ‘skin’ that was moulded to take on the shape and subtle texture of a high-resolution 3D print of the surface made by Océ - A Canon Company.

Find out more about the recording and complex reproduction process.

Facsimile of a ceiling by Giuseppe Salviati installed at the Palazzo Grimani
Facsimile of a ceiling by Giuseppe Salviati installed at the Palazzo Grimani

A sixteenth-century circular ceiling canvas painted by Giuseppe Salviati (Giuseppe Porta) for the Palazzo Grimani in Venice has been re-materialised as a facsimile and installed in its original location.

The painting, now in the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris, shows the dispute between Minerva and Neptune. Factum recorded both the ceiling itself and the oval space which it once occupied, using this data to ensure that the final facsimile fitted into its original context.

The ceiling can be seen from May in the Palazzo Grimani’s recently restored Vestibolo della Tribuna. You can find out more about making and installing the facsimile ceiling here.

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