Metal Plating, Patination and Corrosion

  • David A. Scott
  • Roland Schwab
Part of the Cultural Heritage Science book series (CUHESC)


Surface treatment and patination have been used extensively in ancient and historic metallurgy [68], and practically all metallic substrates are capable of being altered in one way or another. Microstructural studies are often the only way to adequately investigate these surface coatings and patinations. Natural corrosion may, under suitable circumstances, be considered a form of patination, or metals may be deliberately patinated in order to alter surface characteristics. Hughes [26] and Hughes and Rowe [27] make an interesting distinction between four types of surface alteration systems: Firstly, those that rely on a complex metallurgy, but a simple colouring technique in order produce different surface colours. Simple organic coatings are an example used on a wide range of alloys. The second category is the use of a simple metallurgy and complex colouring, the approach taken in the nineteenth century, where fairly standard bronzes or brasses were given a wide variety of colours. Eclecticism, which Hughes [26] says hovers on the edge of kitsch, was used in the late nineteenth century and finally a simple metallurgy and simple colouring such as the oxidized finished on silver and small-scale architectural fittings.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Scott
    • 1
  • Roland Schwab
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Art HistoryUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Curt Engelhorn Centre for ArchaeometryMannheimGermany

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