Introducing Fingerprint: an interdisciplinary research project on the graphic works of Pieter Bruegel the Elder

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Pieter Bruegel, Justitia, S II 133 707 (detail), 1559, 224 x 295 mm, KBR Print Room, Brussels, Imaging with Multi-Spectral Microdome (RICH project)

The Imaging Lab is one of the partners in FINGERPRINT: an interdisciplinary collection- and data management project, involving art history, art technical research, digital imaging, image processing, conservation science.

The aim is to monitor and evaluate the phases of the genesis of a print, from the unique preparatory drawings over proof impressions to later states and editions. This will be accomplished through advanced digital imaging, statistical processing and laboratory analyses.

The graphic works of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1520-1569) in the collection of the Royal Library of Belgium is the test corpus for the FINGERPRINT project. The tools and methods developed to gather and treat the data will be designed to answer specific questions regarding the prints and drawings from this corpus. These questions concern both collection management, technical art history and conservation science as well as production, distribution and consumption history of the corpus of artifacts of Bruegel. Continue reading

Endangered collections: risks and strategies

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During the Great War, in the night of 25-26 August 1914, soldiers set the fourteenth-century University Hall and its eighteenth-century library wing of the University of Leuven (Belgium) ablaze. To commemorate the hundredth Anniversary of the Library’s destruction, the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) organized a three day international conference on the challenging topic: What do we lose when we lose a library? with the support of the Goethe-Institut Brüssel and the British Council, Brussels.  Continue reading

Large-scale high-end digitisation? Workflow optimisation!

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Ex-libris of Archibald Corble Harrison in KU Leuven, BTAB, R4A1

Shortly after the 1940 burning of the Leuven University Library, the fencer and bibliophile Archibald Corble Harrison (1883-1944) donated his extensive collection of books on fencing to the University. The books and manuscripts of this collection, held by the KU Leuven Special Collections, are now the subject of a large-scale digitisation project.

The project is vast: with c. 1.900 items dating from as early as the 15th century to the 20th century, the Corble collection is one of the largest collections on swordmanship and related fields in the world. Continue reading

Digitizing a porcelain card – in pursuit of a faithful reproduction

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The KU Leuven University Archives requested a digital reproduction of a porcelain card. A porcelain card is a 19th century lithographic printing technique that uses either white lead or kaolin to produce prints with a very distinct shimmer (more information here). Because this shimmer is an essential aspect of the porcelain card, we somehow had to preserve some of the shine in our reproduction. Since common digitization techniques are obviously tailored to minimize the amount of reflection, this turned out to be quite a challenge. Continue reading

Staying on target, colour management 2.0

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iQ-Analyzer report, ColorChecker SG – own measurements

In a previous post we discussed the use of the X-Rite ColorChecker SG card and the online platform delt.ae as a means to control and validate the colour accuracy of our digitisation workflows. Whilst that process allows for a quick colour management, we found it to be somewhat insufficient in those cases where we want to take the quality of our captures to the next level. Continue reading

Magister Dixit: KU Leuven and UCL collections completed

Magister Dixit projectThe Imaging Lab recently completed the digitisation of 301 manuscripts with lecture notes of the ancient University of Louvain. Digitisation took place as part of the Magister Dixit project, for Lectio, and with support of the InBev-Baillet Latour Fund. Lecture notes have naturally been scattered all over Europe but both KU Leuven and the UCL built up extensive collections after the destruction of the library during World War II in which 68 manuscripts were lost. The recently gathered collection is now virtually reunited. Continue reading

The 8th century Codex Eyckensis digitised and made available online

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Codex Eyckensis A

In close collaboration with Prof. Lieve Watteeuw (Illuminare – Centre for the Study of Medieval Art), the Imaging Lab meticulously digitised the Codex Eyckensis. The codex is the oldest preserved “book” produced in the Low Countries, the wider area encompassing contemporary Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The Codex can now be accessed online through LIBIS. Continue reading