Glass - Back to the Future!

Presenting Author:
Márcia Vilarigues

article posted 18 April 2016

Márcia Vilarigues is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Conservation and Restoration field of FCT-NOV. She works in the field of the history of the production of materials and strategies for approaching general public to historical objects, in particular of glass and stained glass. Márcia Vilarigues is also the Director of the Research Unit VICARTE - “Glass and Ceramics for the Arts” ( Up to now she is the co-author of one book and five book chapters, and more than 22 scientific papers in peer review publication, and participated in more than 35 conferences both as invited speaker or making oral and poster presentations.

Glasspaints following documentary sources

Márcia Vilarigues
Research Unit VICARTE-Glass and Ceramic for the Art, campus de Caparica, 2928-516 Caparica, Portugal
Dep Conservation and Restoration, FCT NOVA, campus de Caparica, 2928-516 Caparica, Portugal

In this presentation we show the first results on the exportation of key documents with high impact on the production of glass paints (such as enamels and grisailles). We are studying documents from the 14th to 20th century with recipes where the information given is sufficient for making reproductions. Following the steps listed in the recipes, we are reconstructing the production and application process. Since descriptions of the application process for glass-based paint onto glass substrates are seldom found in the documentary sources, this requires a series of experiments to determine the range of methods. Glass-based paints consist of pigment with a binder mixed into glass powder. The role of the binders, as well as the firing temperatures, on the final paint is being investigated. Binders described in the written sources can be water-based, like vinegar, wine, urine, gum Arabic, or oil-resin based, such as linseed and spike lavender oil as well as turpentine. Finally, glass substrates with different compositions are being used, to evaluate the thermal compatibility of the materials. Chemical characterization of the glass composition obtained will be made by Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE). The working properties of the final glass will be evaluated by measuring its thermal properties (Dilatometry and Differential Scanning Calorimetry). The spectra of the final colours obtained will be measured with UV-Vis-NIR spectrometry. The morphology of the paint and its adhesion to the substrate will be characterized by imaging methods (Optical and Electron Microscopy). The diffusion of the chemical elements from the glass paint into the glass substrate will be investigated with ion beam X-ray imaging of cross sections.