Although Mary Ballard was unable to attend the conference, Ines Madruga, Paintings Conservation Fellow at the Smithsonian’s MCI, read the paper and gave a dynamic presentation. Mary and her coauthors worked closely with the color scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to explore the ways in which differently colored LED lights can change perceptions of colored textiles. They used samples from a 19th-century handbook for dyeing and printing cotton and the Spectrally Tunable Lighting Facility at NIST.
The “Practical Handbook of Dyeing and Calico-Printing” was published by William Crooke 1874. Since each sample in the handbook included detailed information about the dye used, the results of the study should be informative for many textiles made on or before 1874.
The STLF is able to simulate many different types of light, measure spectra, and provide side-by-side comparisons. For more information, visit their website (http://www.nist.gov/pml/div685/grp03/vision_lighting.cfm). After comparing the samples in many different types of light, the authors were able to create a guideline with recommendations for LED lights that provide the best overall color.
The NIST website has many helpful resources, including a spreadsheet with Color Quality Scale information. The spreadsheet allows users to predict how how color qualities will change with different lights. The spreadsheet, which includes a tab with directions for use, can be downloaded here.
This presentation builds on work presented at the previous AIC meeting. For additional information, consult this paper:
Bolin, Courtney, Mary Ballard, and Scott Rosenfeld. 2014. “Assessing Colorants by Light.” (http://aics42ndannualmeeting2014.sched.org/event/ca5c64b579ff2d67e284decc878e72ee#.VV9Euk_Byyo)