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Works of art from the Government Art Collection (GAC) are displayed in UK Government buildings in nearly every capital city, making it the most dispersed collection of British art in the world. The role of the Collection is to promote British art while contributing to cultural diplomacy. Dating from 1898, the Collection has expanded over the years and now contains over 14,000 works of art from the 16th century to the present day by mainly British artists in a broad range of media.

On 16 May 2017 I attended a one-day course ‘Photogrammetry and Sketchfab Training for Cultural Heritage’ at the Museum of London led by Thomas Flynn and Alec Ward, Museum Development Officer: Digital and Communications. As soon as the different examples of digital models began to unfold, I experienced a sense of wonder before the object-replicas as well as the platform that allowed their visualization. Learning about the process of creating and sharing 3D content online also shifted my perception and positioning in relation to objects. As I set out to make my first digital 3D model of an architectural detail of a cast stone pineapple finial taken from the lower courtyard of the museum, I began to scrutinise the object and its surface from all angles moving around it as if initiating a ritual. This sensorial experience extended through a photography session of the object, making sure there was a sufficient overlap between images and that I had captured all of its facets. The next layer involved a software application that aligned the photographs, meticulously piecing them together before generating the model. Finally, similar to preparing an artwork for display, I added the finishing touches by polishing the texture of my modelled object, adjusting the lighting, and labelling it, ready to be showcased online.

 

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