Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Thermogram, Heat, Panel, Art, Infared, Paint, Tests


Thermography is a technique whereby the structure or condition of an object is studied by means of precisely measuring temperature variations over the surfaces of the object. The research which is described in this thesis was undertaken to determine whether thermographic techniques could be applied to the field of art conservation to detect subsurface voids within painted wooden panels. It must be stressed, however, that this research was carried out as a feasibility study with no attempt being made to establish or refine a technique that could be immediately applied to the examination of works of art.

The text of this thesis is divided into four sections. The first of these sections, the "Introduction," is an attempt to establish a need for a technique capable of detecting subsurface voids within panel paintings. The second section entitled "The Theoretical Basis for Thermographic Analyses of Subsurface Voids" explains why voids can be detected through the measurement of surface temperatures, and the equipment necessary to make these temperature measurements is explained. The section entitled "Experimental Procedures and Results" describes the research carried out for this thesis and contains a number of photographs which illustrate the effectiveness of thermography in detecting subsurface voids. The final section of the text entitled "Conclusions" summarizes the findings of the research and relates these findings to the possible future application of thermography to the analysis of actual works of art.