Colnaghi & Factum celebrates the materiality of artworks, encouraging a new age of digital connoisseurship. Through the fusion of Colnaghi, the oldest art dealership in the world, and Factum Foundation, a driving force in the application of technology for cultural preservation, a partnership has been created in which art and science merge, making new insights possible and allowing connections to be made.

Colnaghi & Factum make 3D scanning of the surface of paintings easy and accessible. The new studio in London’s St James’s focuses on high-resolution surface recording and composite colour photography. This approach has already resulted in a groundswell of interest and a significant change in attitude to both the value and the preservation of works of art. The services are aimed at the custodians of paintings (museums, collectors, dealers, owners, and those fortunate enough to look after works of art), who wish to create a digital passport of their artworks.

Colnaghi & Factum is a company whose common goal is to bring our private and institutional clients the highest degree of academic and technical analysis into their works of art. With our studio in London’s St James’s, Colnaghi & Factum will focus on revealing the secrets of works of art from remarkable collections, many of which have fascinating stories waiting to be told.

Jorge Coll

Scanner in use

Recording works of art in 3D, composite colour and infra-red photography, using bespoke hardware and software is changing scholarship, allows collectors to record their works at a specific moment, creating a digital record that facilitates meaningful condition monitoring. Both private and public collections can digitally preserve and monitor their paintings through high-resolution scanning.

The Colnaghi & Factum passport has been conceived as a single digital document that brings diverse types of information together in the same place, at the same scale.

Using Factum Foundation’s Lucida 3D Scanner, in conjunction with composite colour recording and photometric-stereo, the passport will enable diverse users to analyse specialist data on almost any computer, via free software. This process demystifies technology and assists in detailed and objectively accurate condition monitoring, long-term preservation, recording loans and analysing the changes that occur when works of art are moved, facilitating a new approach to access.

Recording diverse objects is now possible and includes:

  • A convex panel painting by Parmagianino
  • Painted relief tombs in the Valley of the Kings
  • Marble sculptures on the façade of the Church of San Petronio in Bologna
  • Grinling Gibbons transformation of Tintoretto’s Crucifixion
  • Recording of archaeological sites
  • Details of the exquisite ivory box of Princess Walada in Madinat al-Zahra.

The possibilities are endless and every surface reveals information about the object, its manufacture and trajectory. Colnaghi & Factum seeks to bring a new dimension to scholarship and connoisseurship, uniting collectors, dealers and specialists in the field of preservation, conservation and new technology.

Through the Colnaghi & Factum digital passport, falsifications, alterations and restorations are revealed alongside the autograph traces left by both master and studio. In the event of damage or theft, the digital record plays a vital role. Its primary intention is focused on verification. The process reveals the importance of works of art as a portal into other people’s worlds.

The focus in London is to record the evidence contained in the surface of paintings, using 100% non-contact procedures which reveal previously undocumented information.

In recent years – particularly since the pandemic – museums have come to realise the importance of documenting the surface of paintings and other works of art. The Colnaghi & Factum partnership addresses these emerging needs.

Colnaghi has been valued by collectors and museums since its founding in 1760, whilst Factum has been at the forefront of the high-resolution recording of the surface of paintings for over 20 years.

The Colnaghi & Factum Studio

The new Colnaghi & Factum studio is open by appointment. In addition to the 3D and colour recording studio, there will be displays and information about the work Factum and Colnaghi are undertaking. Both individuals and institutions are encouraged to request a visit, and experience the possibilities of this groundbreaking technology.


26 Bury Street, London SW1Y 6AL

+44 (0) 20 7491 7408

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