Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Colourful wall hangings contain toxic substances

Traditional Swedish bonad paintings can contain toxic substances such as arsenic, reveals new research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in which painting conservator and conservation scientist Ingalill Nyström analysed the paint and techniques used in the traditional painted wall hangings from southern Sweden.

Previous research into bonad painting has always originated in the humanities, from an art/cultural history perspective.

Bonad paintings are painted wall hangings that tell a story, often with a biblical theme, and were put up in farmhouses on special occasions such as Christmas. However, there has, to date, been little information available about the paint and materials used.

“It’s important to know about the materials used in these wall-hangings so that we can preserve them,” says Ingalill Nyström from the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Conservation. “We need to know whether they run the risk of being bleached or broken down by different kinds of exposure, treatment or conservation method. It’s also important for the people who handle them to know whether any of the substances in them could be harmful or toxic.”

Several toxic pigments have been found in the wall hangings studied, including orpiment and emerald green, which contain arsenic. Orpiment was very common in yellow pigment in painted wall hangings throughout the 18th century and well into the 19th century too. Emerald green appears in some 19th century wall hangings.

“So it’s important to be careful when handling them. Several of the pigments and dyes are also sensitive to light, and the binding agent in the hangings is sensitive to damp and moisture.”

Ingalill Nyström’s thesis is the first of its kind. Previous research into bonad painting has always originated in the humanities, from an art/cultural history perspective.

Her aim was to investigate the technology, materials and painting techniques used in the wall hangings.

“The quality and characteristics of the materials used can play a role in both these paintings’ technical opportunities and their limitations. In my book I describe the various raw materials, approaches, potential painting tools and other aids that could have been used,” says Ingalill Nyström.

She also discusses how the paints may have been mixed and applied to the wall hangings.

Ingalill Nyström’s work is a cross-disciplinary study that combines art technological source research with spectroscopic analysis methods. She has examined more than 70 bonad paintings originating from southern Sweden between 1700 and 1870, and also 700 paint samples.

The materials used often comprised paint made with cheap pigments mixed up with egg and sometimes a touch of flour. The paint was generally applied to recycled linen, which had been primed with flour glue. Typically, templates were used for the figures in the scenes depicted.

Ingalill Nyström, Department of Conservation, University of Gothenburg,
tel: +46 (0)31 786 5701,
mobile: +46 (0)730 478 609

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Gene therapy shows promise for treating Niemann-Pick disease type C1
27.10.2016 | NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

nachricht 'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape
27.10.2016 | International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>