The examination of embedded paint samples provides important information on the stratigraphy of a painting or painted object/architectural surface. This technique reveals information on how the artist has constructed the painting. The investigation of the micro-structure of a painting from the examination of embedded paint samples of under an optical microscope provides the conservator with a fundamental understanding of the materials and techniques of the painting under investigation and can be used for comparative purposes when undertaking research and analysis into an artist's techniques.
This method involves the removal of minute samples from the artwork, to be embedded in polyester resin.
Cross-sectioning of samples can also be undertaken for architectural projects, primarily to determine an original colour scheme. While the research relating to cross-sectioning of architectural samples at the Grimwade Centre does not include historical research, the report provided presents evidence of the paint layers that currently exist at the sample site, at the time of sampling. The report provides an indication of the colour of each layer only. If pigment analysis is required, to determine the inorganic pigments present, SEM-EDS of the sample can be undertaken. The Grimwade Centre can undertake Munsell colour testing/comparison of the sample if required. The cross-section samples are property of the client, and can be returned to the client if required.