JOHN SINGLETON COPLEY'S PORTRAITS: A TECHNICAL STUDY OF THREE REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLES
J. William Shank
1.1.1 VISUAL EXAMINATION and SAMPLING:
Paintings were examined and sampling was done under a Zeiss 50 stereobinocular microscope equipped with a fiberoptic illuminator at 15.6x magnification. Care was taken to avoid sampling areas of the paintings which included later restorations.
1.1.2 MICROSCOPIC ANALYSIS:
Samples of pigments, grounds and canvas fibers were mounted on microscope slides with cover glass in Aroclor 5442, a standard mounting medium with a refractive index of 1.66. They were examined under transmitted light on a polarizing microscope, Leitz Laborlux -12, at magnifications ranging from 50x to 1000x.
Cross sections were examined under the same microscope in reflected light at 50x to 200x magnification. The sections were mounted in Buehler Epo-kwik resin, which was allowed to harden, then cut, sanded, and smoothed.
Pigment samples were subjected to microchemical testing under an Olympus polarizing microscope at 100x magnification.
X-radiographs of all paintings were taken with a Baltospot industrial unit which operates at 5 milliamps and is adjustable up to 100 kilovolts. Settings used varied from 40 kv for 50 seconds (for the paintings lined to canvas) to 40 kv for 90 seconds (for the painting mounted on aluminum). Film used was Dupont Cronex NDT 55 Industrial, in 14 × 17-inch “day packs.”
1.1.5 INFRARED REFLECTOGRAPHY:
Paintings were examined with a Dage 800 modified television camera with a Hammamatsu N214 vidicon tube, connected to a high-resolution Conrac television monitor. A quartz halogen light source was used for illumination.
1.1.6 X-RAY DIFFRACTION ANALYSIS:
Samples were mounted on glass rods with collodion. They were x-rayed with a Diano 8000 XRD equipped with a Gandolfi cylindrical camera (114.6mm internal diameter). It is equipped with a Cu target (1.5404 A) and a Ni filter. The samples were run at 35 kv, 10 milliamps, for approximately 17 hours. The x-ray patterns were identified by comparison with published standard (Joint Committee on Powder Diffraction Standards, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania).
1.1.7 SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY (with energy dispersive x-ray analysis):
Samples were mounted, under the Zeiss binocular microscope, in collodion on a Buehler epoxy resin block, and examined at up to 5000x magnification with a Coates and Welter Cwik-Scan 100, equipped with a Kevex energy dispersive detector for x-ray emission analysis.
1.1.8 ULTRAVIOLET FLUORESCENCE:
Paintings were examined with an ultraviolet mercury lamp of 118 volts and 100 wattage with a peak of 3600 angstroms.
DarrellSewell, Copley from Boston (catalog). Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1980, no pp.
Martha BabcockAmory, The Domestic and Artistic Life of John Singleton Copley. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1882, p. 36.
VirgilBarker, “John Singleton Copley,” in Four Boston Masters (catalog). Wellesley: Jewell Arts Center, 1959, p. 22.
John SingletonCopley, et al, Letters and Papers of John Singleton Copley and Henry Pelham, 1739–1776. New York: Kennedy Graphics, 1970, p. 66.
Letters and Papers of John Singleton Copley and Henry Pelham, 1739–1776. New York: Kennedy Graphics, p. 65.
Jules DavidPrown, John Singleton Copley (catalog: National Gallery of Art). New York: October House, 1965, p. 70.
John Singleton Copley (catalog: National Gallery of Art). New York: October House, p. 70.
Copley, op. cit., pp. 333–344.
Jules DavidPrown, John Singleton Copley. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966, p. 314.
Ibid., p. 316.
P.England and LvanZelst, “A Technical Investigation of Some Seventeenth Century New England Portrait Paintings,” A.I.C. Preprints, Milwaukee, 1982
Ibid., p. 89.
Ibid., p. 91.
Copley, op. cit., p. 334.
Ibid., p. 115.
Ibid., pp. 172–3.
Ibid., p. 115.
Ibid., p. 140.
Information from the files of the Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, and from a telephone conversation with Elizabeth Jones, March 1983.
Copley, op. cit., p. 306.
See reference #19.
Copley, op. cit., p. 140.
Ibid., p. 337.
Prown, op. cit., p. 254: quotes the Humphry memo in footnote #28, from British Museum add. ms. 22949.
Copley, op. cit., p. 306.
Ibid., p. 307.
Ibid., p. 335.
Ibid., p. 334.
Prown, op. cit., p. 254.
Copley, op. cit., p. 244.
Ibid., pp. 297–8.
Ibid., p. 336.
Ibid., p. 337.
WaldemarJanuszczak, ed., Techniques of the World's Great Painters. Oxford: Phaidon Press Ltd., 1980, p. 68.
Copley, John Singleton, et al, Letters and Papers of John Singleton Copley and Henry Pelham, 1739–1776. New York: Kennedy Graphics, 1970.
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Anon., American Portraits by John Singleton Copley (catalog). New York: Hirschl and Adler Gallery, 1975.
Anon., John Singleton Copley, 1737–1815 (catalog). Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1938.
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Gettens, Rutherford J., and George L.Stout, “The Stage Microscope in the Routine Examination of Paintings,” Technical Studies, Vol. IV, No. 4, April 1936, pp. 207–233.
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Morgan, John Hill, John Singleton Copley. Windham, Connecticut: Walpole Society, 1939.
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Parker, Barbara Neville, John Singleton Copley: American Portraits in Oil, Pastel and Miniature (catalog). Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1938.
Plesters, Joyce, “Cross-Sections and Chemical Analysis of Paint Samples,” Studies in Conservation, Vol. II, No. 3, April 1956, pp. 110–155.
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