Courtauld Institute of Art chooses Leica

Pigment & Resin Technology

ISSN: 0369-9420

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




(2000), "Courtauld Institute of Art chooses Leica", Pigment & Resin Technology, Vol. 29 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Courtauld Institute of Art chooses Leica

Courtauld Institute of Art chooses Leica

Keywords: Leica, Paints, Microscopes

Paintings conservators at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London say the purchase of a Leica DM RX research microscope has dramatically improved microscopy in their department.

Dr Aviva Burnstock, Lecturer in the Department of Conservation and Technology, said: "The Leica DM RX is used for routine examination of paint samples prepared in various ways and, occasionally, for looking at paint surfaces at magnifications beyond the scope of other microscopes in the conservation studios. This instrument is crucial for the first step in the technical study of paint layers in paintings. It enables us to look at very small samples from paintings prepared as cross-sections, to examine the paint layer and to identify the pigments. One of the microscope's most useful features for our work is the ability to switch rapidly between incident UV and tungsten illumination."

Fellow lecturer Mr Alan Phenix said: "Buying a research instrument such as this was a considerable investment for an establishment of our size. It needed careful consideration and we looked for an instrument with an expected lifetime of around 25 years. At the time, fluorescence was coming into its own as an important method for characterising the binding media of paint and so the excellent fluorescence facilities of the Leica DM RX were certainly an important factor in our decision. The Leica representative was also very interested in our work and keen to provide us with the exact specifications that would meet our requirements."

Dr Burnstock and Mr Phenix both agree that the microscope is easy to use, flexible and robust - all important features considering that it is used by a large number of students, some with very little experience in microscopy. Mr Phenix concluded: "Since we bought the Leica DM RX, the improvement in microscopy in the department has been phenomenal. It is an excellent instrument and we are very happy with the technical support we have had from the Leica team."

Details available from: Leica Microsystems (UK) Limited. Tel: +44 (0) 1908 246246; Fax: +44 (0) 1908 609992; e-mail:; Website:

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