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Dr Paola Ricciardi

Research Scientist

Dr Paola Ricciardi is the Fitzwilliam Museum's Research Scientist. She is responsible for the scientific aspects of the MINIARE research project, which has been studying illuminated manuscripts with a cross-disciplinary approach for the past five years. She worked alongside curator Dr Stella Panayotova on the Fitzwilliam's recent bicentenary exhibition 'COLOUR: the art and science of illuminated manuscripts'. She holds a PhD in Cultural Heritage Science from the University of Florence (2008) and a Master’s Degree in Physics from the University of Rome (2003). Before joining the Fitzwilliam Museum in October 2011, she spent three years at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC as the Samuel H. Kress post-doctoral Fellow in Imaging Science.

She is a member of ICOM (International Council of Museums) and AIAr (Italian Association for Archaeometry), and regularly acts as reviewer for several scientific publications.


Research Interests

Technical analysis of cultural heritage objects; non-invasive analytical methods; artists’ materials and techniques (incl. pigments and paint binders); medieval and Renaissance manuscripts; glass and ceramics production; transfer of knowledge between artists and craftsmen working in different media.


Recent/Major Publications

Refereed papers in primary journals

- J. K. Delaney, P. Ricciardi, L. Glinsman, M. Palmer and J. Burke, ‘Use of near infrared reflectance imaging spectroscopy to map wool and silk fibres in historic tapestries’, Analytical Methods 8 (2016), 7886-7890,

- ‘UV-visible-NIR reflectance spectrophotometry in cultural heritage: Background paper’, Analytical Methods 8 (2016), 5894-96

- A. Pallipurath, J. M. Skelton, P. Ricciardi and S. R. Elliott, ‘Estimation of semiconductor-like pigment concentrations in paint mixtures and their differentiation from paint layers using first-derivative reflectance spectra’, Talanta 154 (2016), 63-72,

- J. K. Delaney, M. Thoury, J. G. Zeibel, P. Ricciardi, K. M. Morales and K. A. Dooley, ‘Visible and infrared imaging spectroscopy of paintings and improved reflectography’, Heritage Science 4 (2016), 6,

- P. Ricciardi, S. Legrand, G. Bertolotti and K. Janssens, ‘Macro X-ray fluorescence (MA-XRF) scanning of illuminated manuscript fragments: potentialities and challenges’, , Microchemical Journal 124 (2016), 785-791,

- C. Anselmi, P. Ricciardi, D. Buti, A. Romani, P. Moretti, K. Rose Beers, B. G. Brunetti, C. Miliani and A. Sgamellotti,‘MOLAB® meets Persia: non-invasive study of a sixteenth-century illuminated manuscript’, Studies in Conservation 60/S1 (2015), S185-S192,

- A. Pallipurath, R. Villő Vőfély, J. Skelton, P. Ricciardi, S. Bucklow, S. Elliott, Estimating the concentrations of pigments and binders in lead-based paints using FT-Raman spectroscopy and principal component analysis, J. Raman Spectrosc. 45 (2014), 1272-1278,

- J. K. Delaney, P. Ricciardi, L. D. Glinsman, M. Facini, M. Thoury, M. Palmer, E. R. de la Rie, Use of imaging spectroscopy, fibre optic reflectance spectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence to map and identify pigments in illuminated manuscripts, Stud. Conserv. 59(2) (2014),

- M. Aceto, A. Agostino, G. Fenoglio, A. Idone, M. Gulmini, M. Picollo, P. Ricciardi, J. K. Delaney, Characterisation of colourants on illuminated manuscripts by portable fibre optic UV-visible-NIR reflectance spectrophotometry, Anal. Methods 6 (2014), 1488-1500,

- K. Dooley, S. Lomax, J. Zeibel, C. Miliani, P. Ricciardi, A. Hoenigswald, M. Loew, J. K. Delaney, Mapping of Egg Yolk and Animal Skin Glue Paint Binders in Early Renaissance Paintings Using Near Infrared Reflectance Imaging Spectroscopy, Analyst 138 (2013), 4838-4848,

- P. Ricciardi, A. Pallipurath, K. Rose, ‘It’s not easy being green’: a spectroscopic study of green pigments used in illuminated manuscripts, Anal. Methods 5 (2013), 3819-3824,

- P. Ricciardi, J. K. Delaney, M. Facini, L. Glinsman, Use of imaging spectroscopy and in situ analytical methods for the characterization of the materials and techniques of 15th century illuminated manuscripts, J. Am. Inst. Conserv. 52(1) (2013), 13-29

- P. Ricciardi, J. K. Delaney, M. Facini, J. G. Zeibel, M. Picollo, S. Lomax, M. Loew, Near infrared reflectance imaging spectroscopy to map paint binders in situ on illuminated manuscripts, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 51 (2012), 5607-5610,

- Ph. Colomban, A. Tournié, P. Ricciardi, Raman spectroscopy of copper nanoparticle-containing glass matrices: ancient red stained-glass windows, J. Raman Spectrosc. 40 (2009), 1949-1955,

- P. Ricciardi, Ph. Colomban, V. Milande, Non-destructive Raman characterization of Capodimonte and Buen Retiro porcelain, J. Raman Spectrosc. 39 (2008), 1113-1119,

Contributions to symposia and compiled volumes (refereed or otherwise)

- S. Panayotova and P. Ricciardi, ‘Painted on Parchment: A Holistic, Non-invasive Approach to the Technical Study of Manuscripts’. In: A. Nevin and T. Doherty (eds.), Advances in the Non-Invasive Analysis of Painted Surfaces: Applications to Conservation, Washington DC, 2016, 25-36

- P. Ricciardi, ‘Appendix: Analytical Methods and Equipment’. In: S. Panayotova (ed.), Colour: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts, London and Turnhout: Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2016, 376-379

- P. Ricciardi and K. Rose Beers, ‘The Illuminators’ Palette’. In: S. Panayotova (ed.), Colour: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts, London and Turnhout: Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2016, 26-39

- S. Panayotova and P. Ricciardi, ‘Masters’ Secrets’. In: S. Panayotova (ed.), Colour: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts, London and Turnhout: Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2016, 118-135

S. Panayotova, E. Cheese, R. Honold, Marie D’Autume, P. Ricciardi and C.-B. Schönlieb ‘From Vandalims to Reconstruction’. In: S. Panayotova (ed.), Colour: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts, London and Turnhout: Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2016, 163-175

-Catalogue entries, S. Panayotova, P. Ricciardi, I. Rapti, D. Cuneo, A. Labriola and K. Rose Beers. In S. Panayotova (ed.), Colour: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts, London and Turnhout: Harvey Miller/Brepols, 2016, 24-25, 44-55, 66-67, 69-70, 72-73, 98, 136-161, 178-185, 316, 324-327, 333-334, 337-338

-P. Ricciardi and A. Pallipurath ‘The five colours of art: non-invasive analysis of pigments in Tibetan prints and manuscripts’. In H. Diemberger, F.-K. Ehrhard and P. Kornicki (eds), Tibetan Printing: Comparison, Continuities and Change, Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2016, 485-500

- K. Rose and Paola Ricciardi, Fusing Findings: a cross-disciplinary approach to material analysis of Manuscripts at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. In: Uluslararasi Cilt Sanati Bulusmasi Sempozyumu, Lale Publishing, Istanbul, 2014, 92- 97

- P. Ricciardi and A. Pallipurath, Colours. In: M. Elliott, H. Diemberger, M. Clemente (eds.), Buddha's Word: The Life of Books in Tibet and Beyond, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, 2014, 103-104

- P. Ricciardi, M. Facini, J. K. Delaney, Painting and illumination in early Renaissance Florence: the techniques of Lorenzo Monaco and his workshop. In: D. Saunders, M. Spring, A. Meek (eds.), The Renaissance Workshop, Archetype Publications, London, 2013, ISBN: 9781904982937, 1-9 (refereed)

- P. Ricciardi and Ph. Colomban, Raman spectroscopy of ceramics and glasses. In: J. M. Chalmers, H. G. M. Edwards, M. D. Hargreaves (eds.), Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy in Forensic Science, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2012, ISBN: 9780470749067, 417-426, (refereed)


-ILLUMINATED: manuscripts in the making, research and teaching resource co-authored with S. Panayotova and D. Jackson, 2016,

- ‘The Colourful Page’ short film, co-written and produced with funding from the University’s ‘Cambridge Shorts’ initiative, The Colourful Page

- ‘Unlocking the secrets of illuminated manuscripts’ in Laboratory News, 8-11-2012,