Hamilton Kerr Institute

Fitzwilliam Museum


Photographic Services: Ultraviolet Fluorescence

Exposure to ultra violet light can cause some substances to fluoresce. This is particularly useful to distinguish between varnish types and to indentify retouching. Some pigments have particular characteristic fluorescence. Madder for instance fluoresces bright orange. Ultraviolet light can therefore be used to identify a number of characteristics.

ultraviolet flourescence

The inscription becomes clearly visible under ultraviolet lighting as are areas of retouching in the figures hands.