Technical Art History

A Synergy of Art and Science

Technical art history “underwrites everything. It travels in a great sweep from the general to the particular – from global sources of pigment supply to the specifics of extracting dyestuffs in seventeenth century Holland, from medieval concepts of colour to vivid glimpses in London studios. It is impossible to understand art properly without its insights. It acknowledges – celebrates – the artist at work and the act of making,” (David Bomford)

What is Technical Art History?

Technical art history is an innovative research strand within history of art, combining expertise from art historians, conservators and scientists, but also reaching out to other disciplines including philosophy, economic and social history.

The focus is on the act of making and everything that encompasses: materials, techniques, intentions, context and concept.

Colour photograph showing a corner region of a trade union banner made as painted textile
Trade union banner made as a painted textile
Colour image showing a microscopy scan of a cross-section of a painted textile banner
Cross section of the textile banner
Image showing the result of a SEM/EDX scan of the cross section of a painted textile banner
SEM/EDX image of the cross section

Welcome to TAHG at Glasgow

The Technical Art History Group (TAHG) is an interdisciplinary team of art historians, scientists and conservators within the College of Arts at the University of Glasgow.

TAHG operates campus-wide and collaborates with institutions within Scotland, the UK and internationally. Technical art history research projects are underway investigating the materials, methods, provenance and state of preservation of paintings, textile, sculpture and other cultural heritage within The Hunterian, Glasgow Life, University of Dundee, Heriot-Watt University, White Cube Gallery, Cleveland Museum of Art, El Prado, Santander University, Yale University, and the National Trusts for England and Scotland.

We are a partner in the international programme New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art.