Chemical analysis of 16th to 19th century Limoges School painted enamel objects in three museums of the Low Countries
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
X-ray spectrometry. - London
, p. 112-121
University of Antwerp
In this study, the results of analysing of a series of 16th-19th century painted enamel objects of the Limoges School currently in collections in three Dutch and Flemish museums by means of portable and micro x-ray fluorescence analysis (PXRF and µ-XRF) and electron probe micro analysis (EPMA) are presented. The aim of the investigation was the authentication of specific pieces. Therefore, the glass compositions as well as the (glass) colouring agents used by the Limoges' artists were studied as a function of the age of the objects. Due to the evolution of these properties, it is possible to approximately date these objects based on their chemical composition. The complete émail peint collection of the Museum Boijmans-Van Beuningen (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), consisting of 20 émail peint plaques, was analysed with µ-XRF. Quantitative information was obtained by EPMA analysis of 15 enamel fragments of objects from museum and private collections in the Low Countries. PXRF analyses were performed on the painted enamel collection of the Antwerp Vleeshuis Museum (13 objects) and the Mayer van den Bergh Museum (4 objects) and on a set of 18 plaques that were donated to the Boijmans-Van Beuningen Museum by a private collector. The results obtained by means of EPMA, µ-XRF and PXRF proved to be useful in the discrimination of 16th century painted enamel objects from those of the19th century. From a total of 70 objects examined, 2 objects (OM964A and OM993) featured a chemical signature that deviated from the published literature composition and pigment use consistent with its presumed period of manufacture.