Drawing materials

Drawing materials

Different drawing materials

RIBA Library Drawings Collection
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings Collection

Palladio produced his drawings predominately using iron gall ink, with some evidence of natural chalk, lead and later graphite. These materials helped him create crisp lines, shading and differing tonal qualities, bringing his ideas for building projects to life.

The qualities of these materials and how they are applied to the paper all have an impact on how well a drawing survives. The interplay between the paper and the materials used is essential to the viewer's appreciation and interpretation. Given that Palladio's drawings were produced 500 years ago, they have proved remarkably durable.

In terms of analysis of both paper and media used by Palladio, the microscope is a useful tool. It enables the conservator to give a closer description of visual observations and in certain cases helps confirm the type of material used.

Nevertheless, each poses difficulties in terms of conservation. Find out more about their history and how conservators analyse and deal with these very different drawing materials.