The Infill: 30 November 2015

The Infill: as stuffed with goodies as a holiday turkey

You mean it’s our own fault?

We’ve just emerged from a post-Thanksgiving food coma (why not celebrate in the UK – after all, the Pilgrims were English!) and realised that we’ve only got a few hours left to squeeze in an Infill for the month. Shame we can’t use tryptophan as a scapegoat – it seems we’ve only got our gluttony to blame.

We’re thankful for conservators (and hope the rest of the world is too)

Imagine a world without conservation. No, don’t – it’s too terrible. Because then you’d also have to imagine a world without preserved beauties like the 13th-century ‘The Kiss of Judas’ at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, or the Portrait of Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-1665) at Columbia University. You’d have to put up with looking at things like this poor Fragonard femme with a moustache scribbled on her face by some pathetic loser. And you’d have to call a massive piece of the artistic and cultural legacy of Florence a lost cause (more on that here).

You’d also have to consider the potential knowledge denied the world without work like MIT conservator Jana Dambrogio’s fascinating letterlocking project involving hundreds of seventeenth-century undelivered and unopened letters. If it turns out to be an accurate theory, without conservation you might never have learned ‘the surprising truth behind King Tut’s gold mask‘.

Finally, if you consider one less laugh in this world to be a thing of tragedy, then be grateful to the Royal Collection Trust conservators who spread a few rays of scatalogical sunshine with the discovery they made whilst cleaning a fifteenth-century painting.

One of these things is not like the others

A big bowl of birdseed to the first person who can guess which of these headlines is the odd man out:

News you can use

And you thought we’d forgotten

No, who could fail to remember that 2015 is the UNESCO International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies? And to us that means colour, colour and more colour, and we want to sneak in a few more optical delights before the end of the year. We’ll start with a gorgeous graphic summarising the history of important colours around the globe, regale you with ‘The Colorful Stories of 5 Obsolete Art Pigments‘ and then, because we love to spoil you, give you more, more ‘More Vibrant Tales of Obsolete Pigments’. We’re so good to you…

Your video treat:

is actually a series of GIFs, not a video, but we found these digital reincarnations of Victorian toys so charming we bent the rules. But just this once.

The final word…

… goes to the author of the piece on art shipping nightmares: ‘There is no substitute for common sense when packing and shipping artwork’. Amen to that.

We did it! We beat the buzzer, got in under the wire and scraped through at the eleventh hour. Note to selves: no eating three times our body weight next Thanksgiving! 

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