- Nineteenth-century English artists’ colourmen’s archives as a source of technical information
- Art technology source research: towards a new discipline
- Book/source title
- Art technology: sources and methods: proceedings of the second symposium of the Art Technological Source Research working group
- Pages (from-to)
- London: Archetype Publications
- Document type
- Conference contribution
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
In the 19th century, English commercial artists’ material suppliers and manufacturers (‘colourmen’) kept excellent manuscript records of their industrial processes, and of their suppliers and customers. These archives contain recipes for manufacture (together with dated day-to-day variations in processes), notes on sourcing and refining raw materials, and detailed information on which artist bought which materials on which day. The resulting archives from just two colourmen (Roberson and Winsor & Newton) run to hundreds of volumes - an unmanageable resource. Selective indexing in database form makes this material accessible. This paper introduces the range of archive material available, with examples, outlining different indexing and database strategies. It is concluded that digital images of each page of an archive, coupled with a database index to those pages, form an excellent solution for accessibility.
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