Egypt: Detail of mural painting depicting Queen Nefertari

From Nefertari’s Tomb (Valley of the Queens, Thebes, Egypt), this image is part of a series of photographic prints taken by Giorgio Torraca during an ICCROM mission in 1978. The mission was to assess the deterioration processes affecting the paintings of the tomb, and draft a conservation and stabilization plan, together with a work programme for the Egyptian Organization of Antiquities (now the Supreme Council of Antiquities).

ICCROM Archives hold records, including photographs and material samples, of the several missions undertaken to the tomb. This begins in 1958, when Cesare Brandi visited the tomb to assess its conditions, and samples were analyzed to determine whether restoration was possible and how best to carry it out. In 1970, H.J. Plenderleith, Paolo and Laura Mora, Giorgio Torraca and Gaël deGuichen carried out another mission to study the causes of deterioration, includingthe action of soluble salts. They also carried out climatic measurements of the tomb and chemical analyses of the original plaster. The mission report describes the painting technique and the restoration operations needed to improve adhesion of the plaster to the walls. Another mission to Nefertari’s Tomb was carried out in 1981 by Paolo Mora, Giorgio Torraca, Paul Schwartzbaum and Elizabeth Smith, to examine the factors of deterioration due to tourism. Conservation recommendations to improve the climatic and mechanical impact of visitors were provided.

The samples taken and analyzed during all these missions are kept in the Mora Sample Archive, which is preserved at ICCROM and the catalogue of which will be available online in the course of this year. More information on the Mora Sample Archive Project can be found at:…