Tag Archives: camera

Spectral Imaging testing at The National Library of Scotland

Combe MS 7382 page 6 in visible light (left) and in UV light (right)

Combe MS 7382 page 6 in visible light (left) and at 365nm UV light with image inverted (right)

On 2nd July the CHICC photographers travelled to Edinburgh for some Multispectral Imaging testing on some George Combe letterbooks at the National Library of Scotland. Francine Millard of the NLS writes:

George Combe (1788-1858) was an Edinburgh lawyer who was among the first converts to phrenology. This was a science which believed that people’s characters could be read from the bumps in their skulls.

The National Library of Scotland holds a remarkable collection of George Combe’s papers from 1804 to 1872. The collection begins with his apprenticeship as a clerk to Writers to the Signet and charts his promotion of phrenology which included co-founding the Edinburgh Phrenological Society in 1820 and the works Elements of Phrenology (1824) and The Constitution of Man (1828). Combe’s outgoing and incoming correspondence document his efforts to spread the causes of phrenology, secular education, and criminal and prison reform.

 

Combe’s letterbooks contain a large proportion of his replies to his brother, Andrew Combe, who was also a fervent supporter of phrenology, and to those seeking his help and advice both in Britain and America. Combe’s replies were copied by wet letter press copying (or wet-transfer) and some pages in these books have now faded to the point of invisibility.

 

The National Library of Scotland teamed up with CHICC in July to see if multi-spectral imaging would be able to render Combe’s words visible. These tests would inform the Library on what approach to take to preserve the Combe papers through digitisation.

To find out more, watch this short film of the work in action:

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Rochester Cathedral’s “Hidden Treasures, Fresh Expressions” project wins £3.55 million in Heritage Lottery Fund support

The original storage box for the Textus Roffensis

The original storage box for the Textus Roffensis

 

The project will use the cathedral’s currently inaccessible and nationally significant archives as a catalyst for the development of exhibitions and workshops in the crypt and library.  These architecturally impressive spaces will be sympathetically opened up to allow access for all. The Textus Roffensis, older and considered by some to be a more significant document than the Magna Carta, is currently locked away for safety in the archives of Medway Council.  The project will make the Textus the jewel in the crown of an imaginative and dynamic treasury. For more info click here.

The CHICC team would like to send a huge congratulations to the team at Rochester Cathedral, on what promises to be a very exciting project!

(see below for a selection of image taken by CHICC at Rochester Cathedral – click on the thumbnails to see larger images)

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St Christopher Woodcut undergoes the National Gallery’s Infrared Imaging

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St. Christopher Woodcut being imaged using Osiris camera

    On Tuesday 15th January 2013 the Rylands were very pleased to welcome Rachel Billinge, from the National Gallery, and Ed Potten, Head of Rare Books at the University of Cambridge for some very exciting imaging.

Rachel brought with her an Osiris camera for high-resolution infrared reflectography. The camera was developed by Opus Instruments based on a prototype that was designed and built by the National Gallery‘s Science and Conservation departments. The Osiris camera records infrared light wavelengths from 900-1700 nanometres, reaching further in to the infrared light spectrum than a standard CCD sensor could. The camera takes many images of an item and automatically stiches each ’tile’ together, saving hours of post-processing time.

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St. Christopher Woodcut being imaged using Osiris camera

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View of Osiris capture as it happens, the camera automatically stitched together each ’tile’ to create a full high-resolution image of the page

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Rachel Billinge from the National Gallery working on a capture of the St. Christopher Woodcut using an Osiris camera

Rachel produced images of the St. Christopher Woodcut, in a bid to produce a legible image of the watermark to confirm, or otherwise, the dating of the Woodcut. The St Christopher woodcut, 1423, is the earliest dated example of European printing. It is preserved as an endpaper in a manuscript dated 1417 from Bohemia, the ‘Laus Virginis’. Rachel also imaged the Annunciation Woodcut, although no watermark is believed to be present in this print.

Members of staff from across the Library were on hand to support and analyse the images as they were produced. We await the results with bated breath… we will share the findings with you in a follow up post as soon as we possibly can.

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Analysing the results… watch this space!

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Infrared Imaging Workshop with George Bevan

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On Monday 20th Feburary 2012 the John Rylands Library welcomed a visit from Dr. George Bevan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics at Queen’s University, Canada.

The visit was arranged by University of Manchester Academic and Papyrologist Dr. Roberta Mazza, Lecturer in Ancient History and Early Christianity, School of Arts, Histories & Cultures.

The workshop was incredibly informative and interesting and comes at an excellent time for CHICC as we are starting to think about developing other kinds of imaging techniques, such as Infrared Photography (IR). Dr. Bevan demonstrated his techniques using kit which can be packed down and transported around inside in a single camera case.

At one time IR photography was very costly, difficult and time consuming, however Dr. Bevan convincingly demonstrated that with the development of digital technologies this is no longer the case.

Following an introductory presentation, members of the workshop got involved with imaging some items from the Rylands’ Collections. Using the Infrared equipment we worked with three very different items – some glazed papyri, ostraca and a page of a water-damaged manuscript. We saw the most impressive results from the ostraca, and learned a lot as we came across challenges in imaging the papyri and ‘missing’ text on the manuscript page.

The workshop was very successful and have given us a lot of food for thought. We are looking in to the possibility of adapting and acquiring some new equipment to carry out Infrared Imaging here at the Rylands.

 

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New ebooktreasures release: The Kelmscott Chaucer

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The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, which took four years to complete, is a masterpiece of book design and is acknowledged widely as the zenith of 19th-century book production. It contains 87 wood-engraved illustrations by the Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones (1833-98). Burne-Jones worked on the Chaucer designs only on Sundays when Morris, his life-long friend, would visit to talk as he drew. In addition to the Chaucer typeface – a smaller version of the Troy type – Morris himself designed for the book the woodcut title, 14 large borders, 18 different frames and 26 initial words. The text of The Canterbury Tales is based on the Ellesmere manuscript, and the remaining text on Professor Walter William Skeat’s (1835-1912) edition of Chaucer for the OUP.
The Kelmscott Chaucer was completed in June 1896, just months before Morris’s death. This copy –  one of 425 copies  printed on paper – was purchased by Mrs Enriqueta Augustina Rylands (1843-1908), the founder of The John Rylands Library, for her personal collection. The Library also holds one of the 13 copies printed on vellum.
The Kelmscott Press, set-up in 1891 by the designer and craftsman William Morris (1834-96), was the most famous and influential British private press. Inspired by the hand presses of the 15th century, Morris supervised all details of production, including the choice of ink and paper, the design of the type and the use of ornaments and illustration.

An eBookTreasures facsimile edition can now be downloaded from iTunes here.

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Camera comparison

People always wonder what the differences are between different resolutions of camera. It’s all well and good saying the resolution is better, but what does that actually mean? We have just photographed an interesting comparison between 3 of our cameras, the IQ180, P25+ and P65+. (the P45+ is at the other studio) Each camera has a resolution of 80mp, 22mp and 60.5mp respectively. All 3 images were photographed on the large copystand, using a Phase One 645DF body with a Phase One 120mm macro lens, lit with Profoto D1 studio lights. camera set at f12, 60/sec.

The same image at 100%

The real differences are visible when zoomed in at 100%. The detail from all 3 cameras is great, but the IQ180 really shows its worth on an item like this. When photographing items, we always consider which camera is best for the job. Luckily, we don’t really have any space issues, so the 80mb raw files from the IQ180 don’t pose a problem. However, we tend to use the P25+ for basic items like letters and normal printed material. Any manuscripts, early printed material, objects or art like the 16th Century binding used here, requires the higher resolution the IQ180 gives us. The files we upload into LUNA are high resolution TIFF, that are converted into JPEG2000.

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