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. 

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. 

Digitising and mapping rock art in Northern Chad

Alexander Peck and Ferdinand Saumarez Smith from the Factum Foundation spent several days mapping and documenting rock art sites in the Eastern Sahara (specifically, Northern Chad), in late 2016. The team, in collaboration with the Trust for African Rock Art (TARA), used an array of different recording methods to digitise the site, and hope with their results will put Northern Chad back on the map for its extraordinary concentration of African rock art. Earlier this month, the team spent a week recording and documenting the Cross-River Monoliths in Nigeria with TARA and the data is already looking spectacular. Read the full project overview here.

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. 

Recording at Sudeley Castle

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. Over the past few days 33 drawings by George Vertue were recorded along with their frames at Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe. 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 as soon as they have been re-created. These sensitive 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. While doing the recording there were conversations about how they were done and about forensic accuracy and the subjective copies. More research is needed but it would be wonderful to see the original Holbein's, Vertue's copies and Factum Foundation's facsimiles together.

Seti I update

Having returned from the Valley of the Kings in December 2016, Pedro Miró has begun post-processing the different datasets recorded of the tomb of Seti I. This process involves the production of a facsimile of a section of the tomb in alabaster. The facsimile will demonstrate the quality of the data recorded and will be the part of an exhibition later this year focusing on the various efforts in restoring, preserving and studying Seti I. 

Read here a full report on work completed in 2016 in Egypt.

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.

Lucida 3D scanning demo at The Met Museum, NY

On October 26, Factum Arte carried out a 3D scanning demo at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Invited by Ronald Street (Senior Manager of 3D imaging), Adam Lowe and Carlos Bayod used the Lucida 3D Scanner to record the surface of a XIV C. panel. Saint Bartholomew is a tempera painting on wood with gold ground made by the workshop of Simone Martini, measuring 29,5 x 21,9 cm and dated back to 1317-19. The front and back of the panel were recorded using different scanning systems with the aim to capturing high-resolution information to document its current conservation state. The work was carried out with the participation of the students from the Heritage Preservation Program at Columbia University's GSAPP, under the supervision of Ronald Street and Conservator Michael Alan Miller.

3D recording the Cross River Monoliths in Nigeria, thought to date back to 200 AD.

Factum Foundation returned from the Cross River State region of Eastern Nigeria having explored and 3D documented the Cross River Monoliths in a dozen sites in the Ikom area. Working with a team led by David Coulson, from the Trust for African Rock Art, and Abu Solomon Edet, from the University of Calabar, the trip revealed the shocking damage that has been sustained to these ancient and enigmatic basalt sculptures – from fire, theft and lack of awareness. Equally, the magic of the handful of sites intact in their original sacred forest shows that there is still time to rescue  this vital part of the story of Africa, restoring the monoliths to their rightful place as one of the treasures of world art. To read the full story and to watch the wonderful project film please click here. 

The miniature version of the 900 year old signing oak at Windsor Great Park presented to the Queen at the Royal Academy of Arts

The miniature version of the 900 year old Windsor Great Park oak tree, made by Factum Arte, was presented to Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in October 2016 to mark Her Majesty´s 90th birthday - and to launch a campaign to plant inner city woods in urban areas around the UK.

This project, the result of a collaboration between the Bronze Oak Project, Factum Arte and Factum´s Foundation, is both to create a better atmosphere in cities across the country and to promote a sense of custodianship - of long term thinking about our environment and our locality.

The tree was recorded using a combination of mid & close-range photogrammetry and white-light scanning. The facsimile was then 3D printed and cast in bronze.

Read the full text here.

Recording a painting by Allan Ramsey at the Museum of Fine Arts

On the 7-8 September 2016, Factum Arte's Gabriel Scarpa and Carlos Bayod recorded Allan Ramsey's painting Mrs. Laura Keppel and Charlotte, Lady Huntingtower (Oil on canvas, 156,2 x 137,2 cm) at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The relief of the painting's surface was scanned in high resolution using the Lucida 3D Scanner and the colour was captured with panoramic photography. This information will be used to realise an exact facsimile of the painting, as part of a series of replicas of Walpole's scattered collection, to be (re)installed in Strawberry Hill House. The shape of the frame was recorded with photogrammetry and will also be reproduced.

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.

Post-processing and rematerialising the Seti I sarcophagus

In March 2016, Factum Foundation marked the launch of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative in Sir John Soane’s Museum by recording the Sarcophagus of Seti I - removed in 1824 from Seti's tomb, the largest and most decorated tomb in the necropolis, which had been closed to the public since the late 1980s for conservation purposes. Photogrammetry, carried out by Ferdinand Saumarez Smith, Pedro Miró and Manuel Franquelo, was used to record the sarcophagus in the confined crypt of the museum. Over 4,500 images were taken on a Canon 5DSR over a five-day period and the data is now in the phase of reproduction. A CNC Miller is currently being used  to rout sections of the sarcophagus from the processed data and the facsimile if slowly coming together. 

Read more on the photogrammetric recording and the rematerialisation of the Seti I Sarcophagus here.

Image: Section of the facsimile of the tomb of Seti I. 

New book scanner created to record fragile manuscripts in Daghestan

The new book scanner that has been made to record fragile manuscripts in Daghestan is complete. This is a collaboration between The Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation and Crevi Ingenieros. Crevi Ingenieros, an engineering workshop in the south of Madrid has been developing a close relationship with Factum Arte and Factum Foundation as we develop more and more recording systems.

This scanner was made to digitise the books in the State Archive in Makachkala but will also be used to record the manuscripts that are held around the country in the collections of Islamic Scholars, madrassas and Mosques - collaboration projects between Factum Foundation, the Peri Foundation and the Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage, Dubai.

Facsimile of the painting & frame of Sir Robert and Lady Walpole

Factum Foundation is working with Strawberry Hill House to create a series of facsimilies of paintings from Horace Walpole’s original collection (sold in 1842, now dispersed worldwide). Two works are complete and are currently on display at Strawberry Hill House - Eccardt's double portrait of Sir Robert and Lady Walpole together with its elaborately carved frame, believed to be Grinling Gibbons. The next painting to be reproduced is Allan Ramsay’s vast double portrait of Walpole's nieces in the MFA, Boston. When complete, it will fill the end wall of Walpole’s famous crimson and gold gallery - scanning took took place on September 8th at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. A team from Factum Foundation is currently in the process of recording the 33 copies of Holbein drawings by Vertue at Sudeley Castle.

Find out more about the project here

Lucida Lab Milano

Lucida Lab Milano is a laboratory specialized in digital technology in conservation, launched thanks to a collaboration between Factum Foundation and Open Care Milano (a Milan-based conservation and restoration laboratory and art services workshop). The scanning studio is run by Carlos Bayod and Guendalina Damone. The Foundation is continuously looking forward to great things and the amount of work that we are seeing in Milan is encouraging - because what we do and what we stand for is beginning to resonate strongly within the conservation and heritage communities. See examples of Lucida Lab projects here.

Read how this relates to Factum Foundation here. 

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