In 16th-century Europe, the ever-growing overseas trade sparked, among others, the fascination for oriental lacquerware. This, in turn, gave rise to a rich tradition by European craftsmen of imitating these luxury items, using locally available materials and techniques. These European lacquers closely resembled Eastern lacquerware, although their chemical composition is very different. European lacquers not only provided an answer to the great demand for Eastern lacquerware, but also encompassed a technique for imitating natural materials and producing the famous Vernis Martin.


In 2014 the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA), the University of Antwerp (UA, Department of Conservation Studies) and the Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH) joined forces to study European lacquers on an art-historical, technological and chemical level: the European Lacquer in Context (ELinC) project. At the end of this 4-year BRAIN-project financed by the Belgian Science Policy Office, a conference will be organised to share experiences, new insights and results concerning the history, technology, preservation, conservation treatment and analysis of European lacquer.
This conference will provide a platform for discussion on the topic of European lacquer for emerging (students and young professionals) and established conservators, restorers, art history researchers, analytical scientists and everybody else with an interest in European lacquers.


The ELinC conference will be held in Brussels. The following is a suggestive and non-exhaustive list of topics of interest for this conference. Especially contributions concerning interdisciplinary studies are encouraged, with a focus on the period between the 17th and the end of the 19th century.

  • Case studies concerning the conservation and restoration of European lacquers
  • Art-historical studies on European lacquers
  • Technological studies on lacquered objects
  • Art-technological sources (research, interpretation,…)
  • Analytical challenges and strategies in the identification of lacquer composition
  • Historical reconstructions (experiences, evaluation)
  • Contextualisation of workshops, guilds, production, …
  • Trade in European lacquerware
  • Lacquer production and industrialisation in the long 19th century
  • Restoration history of lacquerware
  • Chemical and physical alterations of lacquer upon ageing
  • Imaging techniques for lacquerware and related finishing layers



In cooperation with: