Characterization of the Alteration of Debitus Grisailles

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Stained glass restoration generally involves filling glass losses to maintain the coherence of the window and the new glasses used to fill the losses can be painted to chromatically reintegrate the stained glass panel. One of the most common painting materials on stained glass is grisaille, a paint made by mixing metal oxides with a ground lead glass. Grisailles usually have black and brown hues and are used for the creation of outlines as shadows in window glasses. Although several commercial companies sell many types of products to paint on glass, few of them present the necessary compatibility with the original materials that conservation materials must have. Debitus is one of the most renowned companies, and its grisailles are frequently used for chromatic reintegration in stained glass window restoration. Thus, the main objective of this study was to assess the long-term stability and durability of commercial Debitus grisailles. Two alteration tests were carried out, with samples placed in high humidity chambers and submerged in distilled water. The samples and degradation products were characterized by optical microscopy, µ-Raman spectroscopy, and colourimetry. In the immersion, the pH of the water was measured during the experiment, and the leached elements were analyzed at the end by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy. The results showed an alteration of the colour and the formation of degradation products, identified as sulphates. The solution pH was increased by the aqueous extraction of alkaline and alkaline-earth ions from the support glass of the samples. Despite these changes, it was possible to conclude that these commercial grisailles presented good durability and stability for use in conservation treatments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in Conservation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • conservation
  • Debitus
  • degradation
  • grisaille
  • stained-glass window


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