by Frances Lennard, Senior Lecturer in Textile Conservation.
Regular readers of this blog will know about our tapestry monitoring project at Stirling Castle part of the wider research project: From the Golden Age to the Digital Age: Modelling and Monitoring Historic Tapestries.
As a further contribution to this research, Historic Environment Scotland’s Digital Documentation team recently brought their 3D scanning equipment along to Stirling Castle to capture laser scans of The Mystic Hunt of the Unicorn tapestry. The team has delivered The Scottish Ten with The Glasgow School of Art and CyArk, a project which has digitally documented in 3D all of the World Heritage Sites in Scotland and heritage sites around the world. Concurrently, they are delivering the Rae Project to digitally record the properties and collections looked after by Historic Environment Scotland to help with their conservation and management. They were interested to see whether this different method of capturing information on the tapestry could contribute to our strain monitoring project, and in particular whether the point cloud was a useful starting point for Finite Element Modelling.
The scanner uses a laser beam to capture a 3D point cloud for the tapestry. As the tapestry is much smaller than a building, the scan was captured at a very high resolution. It will be interesting to see if the different intensity values in the signal bouncing back from the tapestry could provide information about the different materials present. The scan was repeated several times in a day, so that we can compare the data from each one and investigate whether this is a useful method to capture changes in strain. The team also used a Gigapan photographic system to make an extremely high resolution, gigapixel image of the tapestry.
There is more information on the Stirling Castle blog.
We’re very grateful to Historic Environment Scotland for their collaboration on this project and look forward to discussing the results further.