Video From LIVE FEEDBACK FRIDAY: Harvard’s Forbes Pigment Collection

This week’s FEEDBACK FRIDAY was with the Forbes Pigment Collection director Narayan Khandekar. Narayan is the director of Harvard’s Straus Center and the senior conservation scientist, who oversees the Forbes Pigment Collection.

Watch the video recording here:

The Forbes Pigment Collection is an assemblage of more than 2,700 pigments (and counting!)—is in active use by conservation scientists at the museums, who rely on the samples for testing and as reference materials in the analytical laboratory. For that reason, most of the collection can be glimpsed only from outside the glass-walled Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies. Former Fogg Museum director Edward Forbes started the collection at the turn of the 20th century, and it has been used by Straus conservators ever since. Alongside the pigments display is the corresponding Gettens Collection of Binding Media and Varnishes (named after the museums’ first staff scientist, Rutherford John Gettens), which contains about 1,600 additional samples and objects.

Narayan Khandekar is Director of the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, Director of the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art, and Head of the Analytical Laboratory, Harvard Art Museums. He received a B.Sc. (Hons.) First Class and Ph.D. from the Department of Organic Chemistry, University of Melbourne and a Post-graduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. He has been Teacher of Theory and Research Scientist at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge; Conservator of Paintings, Melbourne University Gallery; and Scientist in the Museum Research Laboratory, Getty Conservation Institute. His principal interests are the technical examination of paintings and painting materials. He is the author on over sixty publications.

We love An Atlas of Rare & Familiar Colour (a book featuring the Harvard Art Museums’ Forbes Pigment Collection). Check it out.

Next week…Back to Basics with all the natural dye questions Kathy can tackle!



If you are not familiar with FEEDBACK FRIDAY, every week, we speak with dyers, artists, scientists and scholars about our favorite topic, natural dyeing and color. Curated by Amy DuFault, Botanical Colors’ Sustainability and Social Media Director and presented by Botanical Colors’ Founder  Kathy Hattori.