Next Article in Journal
HFCVD Diamond-Coated Mechanical Seals
Previous Article in Journal
New Consolidant-Hydrophobic Treatment by Combining SiO2 Composite and Fluorinated Alkoxysilane: Application on Decayed Biocalcareous Stone from an 18th Century Cathedral
Previous Article in Special Issue
Comparison of Selected Properties of Shellac Varnish for Restoration and Polyurethane Varnish for Reconstruction of Historical Artefacts
Open AccessArticle

Approaches for Detecting Madder Lake in Multi-Layered Coating Systems of Historical Bowed String Instruments

Laboratorio Arvedi di Diagnostica Non-Invasiva, CISRiC, Università di Pavia, via Bell’Aspa 3, 26100 Cremona, Italy
Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Pavia, Via Bassi 6, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Torino, via Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
Centro Conservazione e Restauro “La Venaria Reale”, via XX Settembre 18, 10078 Venaria Reale, Italy
Civica Scuola di Liuteria, via Noto 4, 20141 Milano, Italy
Dipartimento di Musicologia e Beni Culturali, Università di Pavia, Corso Garibaldi 178, 26100 Cremona, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Coatings 2018, 8(5), 171;
Received: 19 March 2018 / Revised: 15 April 2018 / Accepted: 28 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Varnishes and Surface Treatments of Historical Wooden Artworks)
PDF [4493 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]


Musical instrument coatings are generally made by multi-layered systems of organic and inorganic materials, applied on the wood substrate by the violin makers during the finishing process. This coating has paramount relevance for several aspects: protection from sweat and dirt, increase of specific acoustic features, and especially aesthetic effects. In fact, the colour of historical bowed string instruments represents a very peculiar characteristic of each workshop. Among the various colourants, lakes are the most challenging to detect because of their sensibility to the alteration processes. In this work, non-invasive and micro-invasive procedures were applied to a set of mock-ups mimicking historical coatings systems prior and after artificial ageing, in order to highlight the overall information that can be recovered for the detection of madder lake in historical bowed instruments. A set of techniques, including colourimetry, visible and UV-light imaging, stereomicroscopy, Fibre Optics Diffuse Reflectance spectroscopy (FORS), X-ray Fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with Energy-Dispersive X-ray microprobe (SEM-EDX), and Fourier-Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were used in order to evaluate the pros and cons in the detection of organic and inorganic component of madder lake at low concentration levels. View Full-Text
Keywords: madder lake; alum; varnish; musical instruments; UV fluorescence; FORS; XRF; FTIR; SEM-EDX madder lake; alum; varnish; musical instruments; UV fluorescence; FORS; XRF; FTIR; SEM-EDX

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Fiocco, G.; Rovetta, T.; Gulmini, M.; Piccirillo, A.; Canevari, C.; Licchelli, M.; Malagodi, M. Approaches for Detecting Madder Lake in Multi-Layered Coating Systems of Historical Bowed String Instruments. Coatings 2018, 8, 171.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Coatings EISSN 2079-6412 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top