Technical Study of Paintings, Historical Research & Authentication

Authentication & Re-Attribution

Authentication and re-attribution of paintings is a multidisciplinary task, requiring the expertise of highly skilled and qualified conservators, technical art historians, conservation scientists, art historians and archivists. Through our work in the technical study and historical research of paintings, in collaboration with other specialists, we have been able to secure unprecedented success in the discovery of a variety of lost masterpieces and in the correct re-attribution of a number of works for our clients. Equally, we have the expertise to spot when a painting is not quite right, and may be a forgery or simply a fake.


Technical Study of Paintings

In the Technical Study of Paintings the studio is able to offer the following methods of analysis to investigate further into an artist’s materials and techniques, and into any subsequent layers or additions added thereafter. 


Raking light topography

Ultra-violet fluorescence photography (UV)




Infra red reflectography (IRR)

Digital infra red reflectography (DIRR)*

Digitised infrared reflectographic mosaics



Transmitted infra red reflectography (TIRR)

Digital Transmitted infra red reflectography (TIRR)*



Transmitted light photography





X-radiography (XR)

Digitised x-radiographic mosaics


X-ray fluorescence (XRF)*


Optical and polarised light microscopy with UV fluorescence and interference plate options (PLM)

Dispersed sample analysis and pigment identification


Cross-sectional paint strata




Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with Energy dispersive x-ray (EDX), with X-ray diffraction (XRD), with X-ray spectroscopy (XRS) or with Fourier transfer infrared (FTIR)*


Gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GCMS)*

High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)*


Macro and micro digital image photography






*These techniques used in the technical study of paintings require highly specialised equipment and are therefore out-sourced as and when necessary.  New and improved techniques for technical study are also being brought in to use all the time and we are aware of the constant need to keep abreast of the fast evolving technology in this field.  In this KSH & Co Ltd often works closely with Art Access & Research Ltd (London) and Libby Sheldon (London and Norfolk), as well as the technical imaging department of the Hamilton Kerr Institute (Cambridge), Brian Singer (University of Northumbria) and Dendrochronological Consultancy Ltd (Sheffield).

As the company enjoys a close and trusted professional relationship with many leading art institutions around the world, we are often able to access comparable technical and historical data on other fully authorized works where other companies may not be able to so readily.