Egypt: Sample from the Tomb of Nefertari, 1958

You may remember our Resource of the Month for May was dedicated to the Tomb of Nefertari (Valley of the Queens, Luxor, Egypt) and to archival material, including paper records, photographs and material samples, from several missions undertaken to the tomb between the 1950s and 1980s by ICCROM and partner institutions.

This month, we are showcasing one of the samples taken by Cesare Brandi, the founder and first director of Istituto Centrale per il Restauro (ICR) in Rome, during his visit to the tomb in 1958. Analysis of this and other samples at the time helped experts assess the condition of the tomb and determine whether restoration was possible and how best to carry it out.

The sample is part of the Mora Sample Collection, an extraordinary resource preserved in the ICCROM Archives. An online collection catalogue three years in the making was recently unveiled, offering unparalleled access to information about more than 1200 material samples collected from heritage sites and monuments in at least 35 countries.

The collection is the legacy of Paolo and Laura Mora, who were world-renowned mural painting conservators, and it bears witness to the complexity and diversity of mural painting as a medium for cultural expression across different civilizations and time periods.

Its significance is further increased by the fact that some of the historically and geographically important sites represented in the collection are now inaccessible, and as such these samples provide a unique opportunity for their study.