<i>Madame de Pompadour in the Frame</i>: An exhibition at Waddesdon Manor
Madame de Pompadour in the Frame: An exhibition at Waddesdon Manor

Factum Foundation is delighted to be collaborating with the Rothschild Foundation at Waddesdon Manor on an exhibition exploring the new perspectives which facsimiles can provide on existing works of art.

The exhibition centres around two facsimiles produced by Factum of works depicting Madame de Pompadour, the erudite and powerful mistress of Louis XV, by François Boucher; one being his monumental famous 1756 portrait, now displayed at Alte Pinakothek in Munich, and the other a small oil sketch held at Waddeston. A combination of the Lucida 3D scanner and panoramic photography were utilised to record both the fine surface relief and colour of the canvas.

The facsimiles is presented at Waddesdon in an exhibition, organised by Factum Foundation and Waddesdon Manor and designed by Skene Catling de la Peña. Running from May 23 to October 27 2019, this allows visitors to examine the facsimiles and explore the process of making them; they are accompanied by objects and images relating to the paintings from Waddesdon’s superlative 18th century collections.

Further information on both the facsimiles and the exhibition can be found here.

Recording “The Circle” Stradivari with the Lucida 3D Laser Scanner
Recording “The Circle” Stradivari with the Lucida 3D Laser Scanner

Factum Foundation is collaborating with luthiers Julia Sarano and Robert Brewer Young on a pilot project to create a unique 3D study of a rare violin, with a precision measured in microns, as part of a multi-layered instrument archive. “The Circle” Stradivari, named for the partial circle inscribed on the back by the maker, is a celebrated instrument that dates from 1701 at the outset of Antonio Stradivari’s ‘golden period’. The instrument is generously on loan for this study from London violin dealers J&A Beare. Data recorded with the Lucida 3D Laser Scanner, will be used to scale a high-resolution photogrammetry model of the instrument. This can provide unique information for conservators, experts, collectors, scholars and makers.

Sarano and Young are working to build up a comprehensive catalogue of information on fine violins and other stringed instruments. This study will serve as an extension of the historic W. E. Hill & Sons archive.

Save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry
Save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry

We need your help!

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry was the oldest continuous manufacturing business in Great Britain until its closure in 2017, a history of traditional bell casting that stretched back almost 450 years to 1570, counting Big Ben and the Liberty Bell amongst its extraordinary legacy.

Sold to Raycliff Capital due to financial pressure in an industry on the decline in the modern age, the US property developers have submitted plans to turn the historic foundry into a ‘bell-themed boutique hotel’; a complete disregard for the rich heritage of one of the UK’s finest cultural and historical assets, and for its rightful function as a bell foundry. More details on this shameful proposal can be found here.

Factum Foundation have partnered with the United Kingdom Historic Preservation Trust on a plan to re-open the foundry, re-equipped for the production of bells and art casting once again, which can be read in full here. You can help save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry by taking a moment to submit an objection to the boutique hotel proposal to the Tower Hamlets council. Information on how to do so can be found here.

Digital and physical reconstruction of the vandalised sacred cave of Kamukuwaká
Digital and physical reconstruction of the vandalised sacred cave of Kamukuwaká

The cave of Kamukuwaká, an important sacred petroglyph site representing the cosmogony of the inhabitants of Upper-Xingu (Mato Grosso, Brasil) and registered national monument has been intentionally destroyed. Culture is under threat and digitisation of Cultural Heritage is the most effective way to monitor its condition.

The data captured from this trip was combined with photographic documentation dating from before the attack to produce an entire 3D recreation of the cave. The Wauja have been working with the team in Factum to ensure the digital recreation is perfect and that the petroglyphs are correct. The digital restoration is now complete and all resources are being focused on the physical reconstruction of the cave that will be sent to Brazil upon completion.

Learn more.

Short video.

Training at Stoppelaëre House
Training at Stoppelaëre House

Since January 2019, the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative's training programme is ongoing at Stoppelaëre House, at the entrance of the Valley of the Kings. Entirely funded by the Factum Foundation thanks to generous donations, this landmark building was fully restored by the Tarek Waly Centre for Architecture and Heritage, in collaboration with Factum.

In February 2017, Stoppelaëre House was formally opened by Khaled El Enany, the Minister of Antiquities and Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO. Stoppelaëre House is at the core of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative. The inauguration brought attention to TNPI as a real innovator in the field of heritage management and sustainable tourism.

The 3D Scanning, Training and Archiving Centre is being run by Aliaa Ismail. Aliaa and the first two fully trained operators, Abdel Raheem Ghaba and Mahmoud Salem have started the training of Amany Hassan Mohamed Ahmed and Mahmoud Abdellah Mohamed Ammar, selected from 26 applicants proposed by the Ministry of Antiquities.

The training will be carried out throughout a period of six months and will ensure the transfer of the skills necessary for digital preservation, such as high-resolution 3D scanning, close-range photogrammetry, composite colour photography, data processing and archiving.

The development of local skills and economy is vital for the recording and preservation of cultural heritage. Factum Foundation needs financial support to fulfill its mission to safeguard the tombs of the Theban Necropolis through the application of new digital technologies, and the creation of exact facsimiles of tombs that are now either closed to the public for conservation or in need of closure to preserve them for future generations.

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’, which will run from May to 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.

Cross River Monoliths
Cross River Monoliths

The Cross River or Ikom monoliths are some of the most important sculptural works in Sub-Saharan Africa. A team from Factum Foundation is travelling to Cross River State in eastern Nigeria to continue a collaborative project with the Trust for African Rock Art and the University of Calabar to document and preserve the Ikom monoliths. The main focus of the trip is to establish how and when monoliths, identified in a number of international collections, left the country. Factum will also continue to record the monoliths in 3D and colour. Luke Tchalenko will be accompanying Ferdinand Saumarez Smith. He is the first photojournalist to be trained under the Factum-Frontline initiative.

The image was taken during a visit to Emangabe monolith site: this is one of two sites that have had preservation initiatives. Unfortunately, it appeared that even in a ‘protected’ site, fires from the neighbouring plantations had crossed over the protective wall and burnt the monoliths.

Factum Foundation has recorded four important monoliths in the Metropolitan Museum (New York), Quai Branly (Paris) and two with a private dealer in Belgium. Learn more.

Digitising Islamic Manuscripts in Dagestan, (2015-present)
Digitising Islamic Manuscripts in Dagestan, (2015-present)

The manuscript digitisation project at the IHAE in Dagestan has led to the discovery of a palimpsest with a 6th century Gospel of Luke. The original text was in the ancient Georgian script Asomtavruli written underneath a later Arabic text. It is one of only ten such manuscripts known to exist. Digitisation opens new avenues in scholarship ­– in this case, the high-resolution images of the palimpsest have been handed over to a Georgian specialist who continues the investigation into this unique object.

Since 2016, Factum Foundation has provided equipment, hardware, software and technical support to the IHAE’s Scanning Lab. This was done in collaboration with the Ziyavudin Magomedov PERI Charitable Foundation (Moscow, Makhachkala) and the Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage (Dubai).

The idea behind this digitisation project is to make the archive of over 3000 manuscripts digitally available at IHAE to specialists around the world, eventually also by recording some of over 25,000 manuscripts that are known to be held in private Dagestani collections. The availability of this archive online will widen the scope of research into the history, languages and religions of the Caucasus.

Factum Foundation is in currently looking for additional funds to continue this important manuscript digitisation effort in Dagestan.

Read more about the progress of the digitisation here.

Support this project by clicking on this link

Scanning the <i>Mappa Turchesca</i>
Scanning the Mappa Turchesca

Factum Foundation has recorded the cherry-wood printing blocks (matrices) of the 16th-century “Mappa Turchesca”, in an ARCHiVe project undertaken together with two students from the Università Iuav di Venezia (IUAV). The heart-shaped map, now in the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice, has text in both Arabic and Ottoman Turkish, and was probably designed by Venetian cartographers for sale to Ottoman buyers. The recording will allow damaged portions of the map to be digitally restored and printed in 3D.

Mario Costa and Fabio Martinello, who have interned at ARCHiVe in Venice and Factum Foundation in Madrid, conducted comparative tests between different recording techniques: photogrammetry, laser scanning, and Factum’s Lucida scanner. They determined that the most accurate data was that provided by the Lucida scanner. Having scanned the map with Factum’s help, they will process this data to digitally restore the matrices, allowing the creation of digital and physical versions without the marks of decay which make it hard to decipher the surface of the original.

While the Ottoman Turkish text around the map claims that it is the work of a slave from Tunis called Hajji Ahmed, the distinctively European heart shape and several errors in the Ottoman Turkish and in the Arabic used for the place-names make it likely that the map was a fully Venetian production – albeit an extraordinary testament to the complex ways links between Venetian and Ottoman empires in a period of great trans-Mediterranean trade and connectivity.

More details on the recording process can be found here.

Canova's Equestrian Statue
Canova's Equestrian Statue

Following the success of the maquette recording of Canova's equestrian statue at the Museo Civico di Bassano del Grappa and under the initiative of Chiara Casarin, the director of the museum, Factum Foundation embarked on a much more ambitious project: to create a digital model of the horse from a 3-metre equestrian statue of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, the plaster prototype for which was made by Canova shortly before his death and finished - with many alterations - by his pupil Antonio Calì in 1827. Until the 1950s, the plaster sculpture was a focal point of the museum’s collection, but it was subsequently broken up to allow for the construction of a new lecture hall, with the parts stored in a local palazzo.

Most sections of the statue were scanned using a Breuckmann white light scanner, while fragments which required more complex surface mapping, such as the head and tail, were recorded using photogrammetry. The entire scanning project took two weeks.

Back in Madrid, the processed data was used to digitally restore the horse from the various fragments. To get an idea of how the pieces fit together, scaled versions were 3D printed and assembled manually. Once it was known how the pieces fitted together, the parts were reassembled digitally to create a 3D model. The model was 3D printed to allow the rematerialisation of the horse at a scale of 1:10, cast in bronze.

Digitising Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Digitising Bartolomé Esteban Murillo

In 2017, Factum Foundation documented two paintings by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo at the Hermandad de la Santa Caridad in Seville: the Miracle of the multiplication of the bread and fishes and Moses and the water from the rock of Horeb. The paintings, which had been removed from their usual locations high up on the walls of the Hermandad for conservation by the Instituto Andaluz de Patrimonio Histórico (IAPH), were recorded using the Lucida scanner and composite photography, whilst their frames were recorded using photogrammetry.

High resolution colour reproductions have been made from the data at a 1:1 scale; these will be displayed in the Hermandad de la Santa Caridad in a setting which will allow visitors to examine these magnificent works at close range.

Further information on the project can be found here.


Find out more about the processes behind photogrammetry: the 3D recording technique at the heart of many of Factum Foundation's projects.

Involving taking hundreds of overlapping photographs of an object from many different angles and processing them using specialised software, photogrammetry produces geometrically precise, but also highly detailed, 3D models of artworks and artefacts.

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