Skip to main content

Dr Nathan Daly

Research Scientist

Dr Nathan Daly is a Research Scientist at the Fitzwilliam Museum. In this role he conducts non-invasive technical analyses of cultural heritage objects across and beyond the Museum’s collection. In one such research project, he is undertaking a technical study of drawings in the collections of notable botanist and art collector Agnes Block. He has expertise in macro X-ray Fluorescence (MA-XRF) scanning of cultural heritage objects, particularly paintings, and works closely with colleagues at the Hamilton Kerr Institute on these activities. His research interests include the use of various non-invasive spectroscopic mapping and imaging techniques in the cultural heritage field, as well as multivariate statistical methods to better interrogate these datasets. He is particularly interested in the combination of complementary datasets in order to improve their interpretation and the application of this information by museum conservators and curators.

Nathan holds a PhD in Chemistry from Columbia University (2017) and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Northwestern University (2011). Before joining the Fitzwilliam Museum in July 2022, he was a Graduate Intern and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Getty Conservation Institute working on non-invasive analysis of works on paper (2016-2019) and an EPSRC-funded Research Fellow at the National Gallery, London working on Art through the ICT Lens (ARTICT): Big Data Processing Tools to Support the Technical Study, Preservation and Conservation of Old Master Paintings (2019-2022).

Pronouns: he/him


- Sober, B.; Daly, N.; Daubechies, I.; Dragotti, P.L.; Higgitt, C.; Huang, J.J.; Pizurica, A.; Pu, W.; Rodrigues, M.R.D.; Schönlieb, C.B.; Yan, S. Reviving Hidden or Lost Features in Art Investigation. IEEE BITS Magazine (in press).

- Freeman, S.K.; Sullivan, M.; Daly, N.S.; Hellman, K.; Lee, L. Deconstructing the creation of Daguerre’s dessins-fumées: a photographic process or just smoke and mirrors? J. Am. Inst. Conserv. (in press).

- Pu, W.; Huang, J.J.; Sober, B.; Daly, N.; Higgitt, C.; Daubechies, I.; Dragotti, P.L.; Rodrigues, M.R.D. Mixed X-ray image separation for artworks with concealed designs.  IEEE Trans. Image Process., 2022, 31, p 4458-4473.

- Jones, C.; Daly, N.S.; Higgitt, C.; Rodrigues, M.R.D. Neural network-based classification of X-ray fluorescence spectra of artists’ pigments: an approach leveraging a synthetic dataset created using the fundamental parameters method. Herit. Sci., 2022, 10(88).

- von Aderkas, N.; Daly, N.; Billinge, R.; van Loon, A.; Dik, J. (2022). Using macro-XRF to examine Rembrandt Portrait of Frederik Rihel on Horseback: new data on pigment distribution and a hidden portrait. In M. Spring & A. Roy (Eds.), Rembrandt Now: Technical Practice, Conservation and Research, (p 126-137). Archetype Publications.

- Adam, E.; Sullivan, M.; Daly, N. More than meets the eye: a case study in the technical analysis of a drawing by Michelangelo. Master Drawings, 2021, 59(3), p 303-320.

- Yan, S.; Huang, J.J.; Daly, N.; Higgitt, C.; Dragotti, P.L. When de Prony met Leonardo: an automatic algorithm for chemical element extraction from macro X-ray fluorescence data. IEEE Trans. Comput. Imaging, 2021, 7, p 908-924.

- Daly, N.S.; Sullivan, M.; Lee, L.; Delaney, J.K.; Trentelman, K. Characterizing the materials and methods of Odilon Redon’s noir drawings using noninvasive imaging and spectroscopies. Herit. Sci., 2019, 7(43).

- Ormond, D.; Schmidt Patterson, C. with MacLennan, D.; Daly, N. (2019). The Making of a Parisienne: Manet’s Methods and Materials. In S. Allan, E.A. Beeny & G. Groom (Eds.), Manet and Modern Beauty: The Artist’s Last Years, (p 155-174). Getty Publications.

- Daly, N.S.; Sullivan, M.; Lee, L.; Trentelman, K. Multivariate analysis of Raman spectra of carbonaceous black drawing media for the in-situ identification of historic artist materials. J. Raman Spectrosc., 2018, 49, p 1497-1506.

- Bouilly, D.; Hon, J.; Daly, N.S.; Trocchia, S.; Vernick, S.; Yu, J.; Warren, S.; Wu, Y.; Gonzalez, R.L.; Shepard, K.L.; Nuckolls, C. Single-molecule reaction chemistry in patterned nanowells. Nano Lett., 2016, 16(7), p 4679-4685.

Associated Research Projects

Associated Departments

Researchers with similar profiles

Sign up to our emails

Be the first to hear about our news, exhibitions, events and more…

Sign up