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Back to Work in Luxor
Back to Work in Luxor

Factum Foundation are pleased to announce that work is now restarting in the tomb of Seti I, a critical step in completing one of the central goals of the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative: to record and re-materialise the entire ancient site.

The recording of the Hall of Beauties, as well as a part of the main Burial Chamber and adjacent rooms, was completed in 2016. This resulted in the creation of an exact facsimile from the scanned data, exhibited at the Antikenmuseum in Basel in 2017-2018.

The partnership between Factum Foundation and the University of Basel, working under the supervision of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, aims to safeguard the tombs of the Theban Necropolis through the direct application of digital technologies and the transfer of skills and equipment to a local team.

The recording phase, mainly funded by the Factum Foundation with the generous help of international donors, is an essential step towards the long-term preservation of the site while promoting sustainable tourism in the region.


A facsimile of 'Maria Sèthe at the Harmonium' (1891)
A facsimile of 'Maria Sèthe at the Harmonium' (1891)

Factum Foundation have undertaken the reproduction of Maria Sèthe at the Harmonium (1891) by Belgian neo-impressionist painter Théo van Rysselberghe to be returned to its original context of La Nouvelle Maison, the modernist home the affluent sitter shared with husband and well-known Art Nouveau designer and architect Henry van de Velde.

Maria Sèthe belonged to a wealthy Brussels industrialist family with an interest in the arts and is pictured here with a harmonium, a type of small organ that was popular with the musical families of the 19th-century bourgeoisie. Van Rysselberghe's stylish portrait thus stands as an evocation of the fashionable artistic milieu of middle-class Belgium at this time, with this project to return the work to it's intended location part of an effort to recreate the original fabric of La Nouvelle Maison.

More on the recording and materialisation process behind this facsimile can be found here.


The 'Cimera de Jaime I'
The 'Cimera de Jaime I'

As part of their exhibition ‘Memory of the Kingdom, 600 years of Generalitat Valenciana’, the Generalitat Valenciana commissioned Factum Foundation to reproduce the ‘Cimera de Jaime I’, an extraordinary 13th century example of the famed Crown of Aragon crest: a rampant golden dragon. This took centre stage in the second part of the exhibition, installed in the Generalitat’s Gothic Court, that explored the historical evolution of the shields of the Kingdom of Valencia, beginning with Pedro el Ceremonioso; the origin of this particular crest.

The piece was recorded using photogrammetry in the warehouses of the Royal Armoury, whilst high-resolution photography was also used to capture the colour data, alongside physical colour sticks. Undertaken using a combination of modern techniques, such as 3D printing, with traditional painting methods and materials, including rabbit tail-based glue, the process behind creating this complex facsimile can be seen here.


Francesco Salviati’s ceiling at the Palazzo Grimani, Venice
Francesco Salviati’s ceiling at the Palazzo Grimani, Venice

A sixteenth-century painted ceiling will be returned to the Palazzo Grimani in Venice in the form of a facsimile made by Factum Foundation. The ceiling, now in the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris, was painted by Giuseppe Porta, also known as Giuseppe Salviati and shows the dispute between Minerva and Neptune. Factum has recorded both the ceiling itself and the oval space which it once occupied, and will use this data to ensure that the final facsimile still fits into this original context.

The painting was commissioned for the Vestibolo della Tribuna in the Palazzo Grimani, and executed around 1565. In the late nineteenth-century it was sold, and some years later entered the collection which was to form the basis of the Musée Jacquemart-André.

As the painting is fixed to a ceiling in the Musée Jacquemart-André and could not be recorded using the Lucida 3D scanner, Factum Foundation used panoramic photography and photogrammetry to scan the work. The original oval ceiling in the Palazzo Grimani was also recorded, this time using a FARO scanner, to ensure that the eventual facsimile would fit into a space whose contours have changed over the course of a century.

Find out more.


Rembrandt's 'Portrait of an Old Man'
Rembrandt's 'Portrait of an Old Man'

Factum Foundation has collaborated with Océ - A Canon Company and the Mauritshuis Museum in the recording and reproduction of Rembrandt's Portrait of an Elderly Man (1667).

With 2019 marking the 350th anniversary of the Dutch Master's death, we are joining efforts to demonstrate how new technologies for non-contact digitisation and elevated printing can contribute to the preservation, study and dissemination of one of the artist's most notable works.

This project consisted of recording the original painting's relief and colour, carried out by a Factum Foundation team in The Hague. Both data sets were then used by Océ to create an exact 3D reproduction. More information on this process can be found here, whilst the high-resolution scan of the painting can be viewed in detail on our homepage.


'The Ladies Waldegrave', Sir Joshua Reynolds (1780)
'The Ladies Waldegrave', Sir Joshua Reynolds (1780)

Factum Foundation recorded the painting in the galleries of the Scottish National Gallery with the canvas unframed and mounted on an easel to facilitate the work. The central section of the canvas was recorded with the Lucida scanner to obtain a high resolution model of the surface texture, and the entire surface was recorded using photogrammetry.

The use of both technologies was a strategy which combined the respective advantages of each method: close correspondence to surface texture and speed in the capture process. The painting’s frame was recorded using photogrammetry. The exact facsimiles of the painting and the frame will be sent to Strawberry Hill House in the next few days, as part of Factum's ongoing effort to recreate the original splendor of Walpole's home and collection.

Another project recently carried out is the digitisation and production of an exact facsimile of Wenzel Jamnitzer's bell.


Art UK Sculpture launch
Art UK Sculpture launch

Factum Foundation is collaborating with Art UK in their endeavour to catalogue the UK’s national sculpture collection. Although the cataloguing is primarily focused on the photographic documentation of approximately 170,000 works, Factum Foundation’s involvement will see this expanded to include specific 3D documentation projects as well.

Towards this end, in November 2018 three photographers from Art UK visited Madrid to receive photogrammetry training over a five-day period. During this time, the trainees were instructed in how to record and process 3D data. The next stage of the project will be to conduct a joint recording project in the UK with a team from Factum Foundation working with the trainees to document sculptures.

Their current database can be found on the Art UK website here.


The 'Virgen de las Nieves' of La Palma
The 'Virgen de las Nieves' of La Palma

In February 2019, the facsimile of a terracotta icon of the ‘Virgin de las Nieves’ produced by Factum Arte, alongside a protective shell for the original, was officially inaugurated and presented by the governing council to the people of La Palma, the most north-westerly island of the Canary archipelago. Every five years, this small figure of the Virgin Mary is at the centre of the Fiestas Lustrales de la Bajada, a deeply traditional celebration involving the island’s patron saint being taken from its display as the Royal Sanctuary’s altar centrepiece into the capital Santa Cruz de la Palma, whereby it is publicly adored.

The council commissioned the construction of a facsimile which was in turn used to create the protective shell; this was formed in fireproof epoxy resin and glass fibre tissue together with a soft inner and frontal padding to provide complete protection for the icon.

This project has been essential to not only ensuring the long-term survival of the figure itself but also the continuation of this passionate expression of veneration by the people of La Palma.


The Lucida Lab Milano recording J. B. Jackson's Chiaroscuro woodcuts
The Lucida Lab Milano recording J. B. Jackson's Chiaroscuro woodcuts

A team from the Lucida Lab Milano started the recording of J. B. Jackson's Chiaroscuro woodcuts, in Palazzo Sturm, Bassano del Grappa's Civic Museum. Palazzo Sturm is one of the few museums in Italy dedicated to showing every aspect of Remondini’s industrial process within the 16th and 17th centuries as well as the phases in the production of books, decorated papers, religious and popular print makings, games, optical views, etchings and woodcuts.

Read more about the Lucida Lab Milano.


Final Review session for the Advanced Preservation Technology Studio at Columbia University
Final Review session for the Advanced Preservation Technology Studio at Columbia University

In 2018, Adam Lowe and Carlos Bayod's course within GSAPP 's Studio on Advanced Preservation Technology programme, at Columbia University, was based on the application of non-contact digital recording systems within the frame of a fieldwork project: the documentation of the great Casa de Pilatos in Seville.

During an intensive 3-day session in October, the students carried out the recording of a selection of art and architecture elements throughout the building. The students had the opportunity to receive on-site training by scanning specialists from Factum Foundation, working in groups so as to obtain high quality information on the current conservation state of the palace.

The obtained data was processed by the students with the aim of generating virtual and physical outputs that could ultimately contribute to the appreciation and dissemination of Casa de Pilatos. During the final review that took place in December, the students presented their research on the conservation of tiles in Casa Pilatos. On this occasion, several renders, multi-layered online browsers, Océ elevated prints 3D models and milled relief prototypes were displayed at the University, along with the video made during the recording session in Seville.


The Re-Opening of the Cast Courts at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Re-Opening of the Cast Courts at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Cast Courts at the V&A reopened this November following a long refurbishment.
Factum Foundation, in collaboration with the Peri Foundation and with the support of the Dagestan aul museum (Makhachkala), has created a copy of an 18th century tombstone from the remote mountain village of Kala-Koreysh, Dagestan. The tombstone was recorded using photogrammetry – a photographic 3D recording technique that can result in high-resolution data – and digitally carved in limestone to produce a beautiful object with material correspondence to the original.
When they first opened in 1873, the purpose of the Cast Courts was to display accurate copies of architectural and sculptural masterpieces from around the world. Over the course of the 20th century, the casts also acquired significant conservation value when a number of the original objects were lost or damaged. However, cast making has long been considered a destructive technique itself, and in the 21st century new non-contact technologies are finding their way into the Cast Courts.

Photo © courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum


Photogrammetry Training at Al-Ula
Photogrammetry Training at Al-Ula

In September 2018, Factum Foundation’s Otto Lowe spent two weeks in the town of Al-Ula, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, teaching a group of fifteen locals how to record cultural heritage in 3D using photogrammetry. A collaborative pilot project between the Factum Foundation, Art Jameel, and the Royal Commission of Al-Ula (RCU), the local students were first taught of the core concepts and technical processes behind photogrammetry then were able to practically apply this knowledge to the recording of three different petroglyph sites in the vicinity of Al-Ula. This educative initiative is one of the most significant in Factum Foundation’s recent efforts to support the dissemination of digital recording skills and technologies across Saudi Arabia.

Read more about it here.


Recording an avant-garde masterpiece
Recording an avant-garde masterpiece

Kazimir Malevich's Black Square, 1915 is regarded as the iconic painting of the Russian avant-garde. In March 2018, a Factum Foundation team were at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow in order to fully record this delicate piece, as well as the 1929 reproduction created for a retrospective held at the gallery that year. The Lucida 3D scanner was employed to capture the intricacies of their surfaces, with this used alongside panoramic photography to achieve a comprehensive set of data that will aid further study of the mysterious work and ensure its longevity for generations to come.

Learn more.


Factum Foundation at the Protecting the Past Conference, Sharjah, December 2018
Factum Foundation at the Protecting the Past Conference, Sharjah, December 2018

On December 6th, the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East & North Africa (EAMENA) Project invited Factum Foundation's director, Adam Lowe, and photogrammetry expert, Otto Lowe, to talk jointly with Art Jameel and the Royal Commission of Al Ula at the Protecting the Past Conference.
This is a series of talks and events aiming at finding efficient strategies for the future of cultural heritage preservation and building long-lasting partnerships within the MENA region by bringing together stakeholders from many different boards.

On this occasion, the three institutions also presented their latest collaboration: a project aiming at transferring technology and know-how to local communities by providing training in data capture and processing to a number of selected participants. The pilot of this series of training programs ran this past October, 2018 in Al Ula with sixteen students and resulted in the successful capturing of 74,000 images and over 1.29TB of data.

Click here for further information about this new collaboration.

Click here for further details about the conference.


Fitch Colloqium 2019
Fitch Colloqium 2019

On February 15th, Factum Foundation’s Carlos Bayod participated at the Fitch Colloqium; a conference hosted by Columbia University GSAPP’s Historical Preservation Programme that explored the future of historical preservation through focusing on experimental approaches to digital documentation, analysis, archiving, sharing, visualisation and re-materialisation of data.

The symposium examined cutting-edge processes involving the development and application of digital tools to projects of all scales, including high-resolution 3D scanning; an area in which Bayod, Ajunct Assistant Professor at GSAPP, lent his expertise.


Recording of the Al Ain Museum
Recording of the Al Ain Museum

In September 2018, a team from Factum Foundation travelled to the oasis city of Al Ain in the Abu Dhabi Emirate in order to record and digitise the exhibits of the Al Ain Museum. The museum, the oldest in the UAE, is being temporarily closed to allow its renovation and the construction of an additional museum building, with Factum commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Department for Culture and Tourism to document its variety of exhibits that focus on the ethnographic and archaeological history of the country so as to ensure their long-term protection.
Two forms of digitisation were conducted: an overall scan using a LiDAR laser scanner in addition to photogrammetry on individual exhibits to supplement the LiDAR data.
Read more.


Rebuilding the Heraclitus Vessel
Rebuilding the Heraclitus Vessel

Factum first got involved in the rebuilding of the ferro-concrete Research Vessel Heraclitus, a 25-metre long concrete Chinese junk that carried out important expeditions over 40 years and 270,000 nautical miles through six oceans, in 2014. Working alongside San Lab Projects from London, 3D visualisations of the hull were produced; first using the FARO scanner, and then, on returning in 2018, using LiDAR technology. This 3D model will provide further assistance to the rebuild project that aims to have the Heraclitus ready for her most ambitious voyage: a five-year Ethnosphere Expedition to West Africa, South America and the Caribbean, commencing in 2020.

Learn more.


Facsimile of the Jamnitzer Bell at Strawberry Hill House
Facsimile of the Jamnitzer Bell at Strawberry Hill House

The extraordinary 'Cellini Bell' by Wenzel Jamnitzer (1507/1508 to 1585) was recorded in June 2018 at the British Museum in London. This highly intricate cast and chased silver bell was amongst the most difficult objects Factum Foundation has ever recorded. It has been replicated in silver using several techniques to try to retain the extraordinary level of detail that characterises Jamnitzer's work. The exact facsimile will be included in the exhibition "Lost Treasure of Strawberry Hill" (20th October - 24th February 2019) in Twickenham.

This exhibition brings back to Strawberry Hill some of the most important masterpieces in Horace Walpole’s famous and unique collection. Horace Walpole’s collection was one of the most important of the 18th century. It was dispersed in a great sale in 1842. For the first time in over 170 years, Strawberry Hill can be seen as Walpole conceived it, with the collection in the interiors as he designed it, shown in their original positions.

Factum Foundation supports Strawbery Hill Trust in its effort to recreate the original splendor of Walpole´s home and collection. Several other treasures from Strawberry Hill, such as Sir Joshua Reynolds' The Ladies Waldegrave or Allan Ramsay´s portrait of Horace Walpole´s nieces, have been recorded since 2015.

Learn more.


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