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Dr Paola Ricciardi

Senior Research Scientist

Dr Paola Ricciardi FRSA is the Fitzwilliam Museum's Senior Research Scientist. She is responsible for the Museum's programme of Heritage Science research and co-directs the Cambridge Heritage Science Hub (CHERISH) initiative. Her main research interests include the technical analysis of cultural heritage objects, particularly with non-invasive analytical methods; the study of artists’ materials and techniques; and the transfer of knowledge between artists and craftsmen working in different media. She is especially interested in cross-disciplinary approaches to research on medieval and Renaissance books and manuscripts as well as early Modern portrait miniatures. She is also keen to find new ways to communicate her scholarly activities to ever broader audiences and works closely with the Museum's Learning team to develop resources aimed at schoolchildren and their teachers. 

Paola is co-editor in chief of ArtMatters, a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts and a member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). She represents the University of Cambridge Museums on the members' council of the National Heritage Science Forum and regularly acts as reviewer for research grants and scientific publications.

Paola holds a PhD in Cultural Heritage Science from the University of Florence (2008) and a Master’s Degree in Physics from the University of Rome (2003). Before joining the Fitzwilliam Museum in October 2011, she spent three years at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC as the Samuel H. Kress post-doctoral Fellow in Imaging Science.

Pronouns: she/her

Edited volumes

- S. Panayotova and P. Ricciardi (eds.), Manuscripts in the Making: Art and Science, 2 vols., Harvey Miller/Brepols, London and Turnhout, 2017-2018

Refereed papers in primary journals

- P. Ricciardi, K.A. Dooley, D. MacLennan, G. Bertolotti, F. Gabrieli, C. Schmidt Patterson, J.K. Delaney, Use of standard analytical tools to detect small amounts of smalt in the presence of ultramarine as observed in 15th-century Venetian illuminated manuscripts, Heritage Science 10 (2022), 38, 

- F. Fiorillo, L. Burgio, C. S. Kimbriel, P. Ricciardi, Non-Invasive Technical Investigation of English Portrait Miniatures Attributed to Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver, Heritage 4/3 (2021), 1165-1181,

- C. Slottved Kimbriel and P. Ricciardi, Secrets of a silent miniaturist: findings from a technical study of miniatures attributed to Isaac Oliver, British Art Studies, 2020, Issue 17,

- A. Mazzinghi, C. Ruberto, L. Castelli  P. Ricciardi, C. Czelusniak, L. Giuntini, P.A. Mandò, M. Manetti,  L. Palla, F. Taccetti, The importance of being little: MA‐XRF on manuscripts on a Venetian island, X-ray Spectrometry 49 (2020),

- M. Crippa, S. Legnaioli, C. Kimbriel, P. Ricciardi, New evidence for the intentional use of calomel as a white pigment, Journal of Raman Spectroscopy 52/1 (2021), 15-22,

- P. Ricciardi, Manuscripts in the Making: Art and Science, Heritage Science 7 (2019), 60,

- P. Ricciardi, A. Mazzinghi, S. Legnaioli, C. Ruberto, L. Castelli, The Choir Books of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice: Results of in Depth Non-Invasive Analyses, Heritage 2/2 (2019), 1684-1701,

- L. Nodari and P. Ricciardi, Non-invasive identification of paint binders in illuminated manuscripts by ER-FTIR spectroscopy: a systematic study of the influence of different pigments on the binders’ characteristic spectral features, Heritage Science 7 (2019), 7,

- S. Panayotova and P. Ricciardi, Painting the Trinity Hrabanus: Materials, Techniques and Methods of Production, Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society Vol. XVI/part 2vol. 1, 2017 (published 2018), 227-261 

- S. Legrand, P. Ricciardi, L. Nodari, K. Janssens, Non-invasive analysis of a 15th century illuminated manuscript fragment: point-based vs imaging spectroscopy, Microchemical Journal 138 (2018), 162-172,

- L. Calatroni, M. d’Autume, R. Hocking, S. Panayotova, S. Parisotto, P. Ricciardi and C.-B. Schönlieb, Unveiling the invisible: mathematical methods for restoring and interpreting illuminated manuscripts, Heritage Science 6 (2018), p. 56 (with additional images available online at

- J. K. Delaney, P. Ricciardi, L. Glinsman, M. Palmer, J. Burke, Use of near infrared reflectance imaging spectroscopy to map wool and silk fibres in historic tapestries, Analytical Methods 8 (2016), 7886-7890,

- P. Ricciardi, S. Legrand, G. Bertolotti, K. Janssens, Macro X-ray fluorescence (MA-XRF) scanning of illuminated manuscript fragments: potentialities and challenges, Microchemical Journal 124 (2016), 785-791,

- A. Pallipurath, J. M. Skelton, P. Ricciardi, S. R. Elliott, Estimation of semiconductor-like pigment concentrations in paint mixtures and their differentiation from paint layers using first-derivative reflectance spectra, Talanta 154 (2016), 63-72,

- J. K. Delaney, M. Thoury, J. G. Zeibel, P. Ricciardi, K. M. Morales, K. A. Dooley, Visible and infrared imaging spectroscopy of paintings and improved reflectography, Heritage Science 4 (2016), 6,

- C. Anselmi, P. Ricciardi, D. Buti, A. Romani, P. Moretti, K. Rose Beers, B. G. Brunetti, C. Miliani, A. Sgamellotti, MOLAB® meets Persia: non-invasive study of a sixteenth-century illuminated manuscript, Studies in Conservation 60/S1 (2015), S185-S192,

- J. K. Delaney, P. Ricciardi, L. D. Glinsman, M. Facini, M. Thoury, M. Palmer, E. R. de la Rie, Use of imaging spectroscopy, fibre optic reflectance spectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence to map and identify pigments in illuminated manuscripts, Stud. Conserv. 59(2) (2014),

- M. Aceto, A. Agostino, G. Fenoglio, A. Idone, M. Gulmini, M. Picollo, P. Ricciardi, J. K. Delaney, Characterisation of colourants on illuminated manuscripts by portable fibre optic UV-visible-NIR reflectance spectrophotometry, Anal. Methods 6 (2014), 1488-1500,

- P. Ricciardi, A. Pallipurath, K. Rose, ‘It’s not easy being green’: a spectroscopic study of green pigments used in illuminated manuscripts, Anal. Methods 5 (2013), 3819-3824,  

- P. Ricciardi, J. K. Delaney, M. Facini, L. Glinsman, Use of imaging spectroscopy and in situ analytical methods for the characterization of the materials and techniques of 15th century illuminated manuscripts, J. Am. Inst. Conserv. 52(1) (2013), 13-29

- K. Dooley, S. Lomax, J. Zeibel, C. Miliani, P. Ricciardi, A. Hoenigswald, M. Loew, J. K. Delaney, Mapping of Egg Yolk and Animal Skin Glue Paint Binders in Early Renaissance Paintings Using Near Infrared Reflectance Imaging Spectroscopy, Analyst 138 (2013), 4838-4848,

- P. Ricciardi, J. K. Delaney, M. Facini, J. G. Zeibel, M. Picollo, S. Lomax, M. Loew, Near infrared reflectance imaging spectroscopy to map paint binders in situ on illuminated manuscripts, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 51 (2012), 5607-5610,

- P. Ricciardi, Ph. Colomban, A. Tournié, V. Milande, Non-destructive on-site identification of ancient glasses: genuine artefacts, embellished pieces or forgeries?, J. Raman Spectrosc. 40 (2009), 604-617,

- P. Ricciardi, Ph. Colomban, A. Tournié, M. Macchiarola, N. Ayed, A non-invasive study of Roman Age mosaic glass tesserae by means of Raman spectroscopy, J. Arch. Sci36 (2009), 2551-2559,

- P. Ricciardi, Ph. Colomban, V. Milande, Non-destructive Raman characterization of Capodimonte and Buen Retiro porcelain, J. Raman Spectrosc39 (2008), 1113-1119,

- P. Ricciardi, L. Nodari, S. Gualtieri, D. De Simone, B. Fabbri, U. Russo, Firing techniques of black slipped pottery from Nepal (12th-3rd century B.C.): the role of Mössbauer spectroscopy, J. Cult. Herit. 9 (2008), 261-268,

- G. E. Gigante, S. Ridolfi, P. Ricciardi, Areas and limits of employment of portable EDXRF equipment for in situ investigations, ArcheoSciences – Revue d’Archeometrie 29 (2005), 51-60 (available online)

Contributions to symposia and compiled volumes (refereed* or otherwise)

- P. Ricciardi, UV-visible-near IR reflectance spectrophotometry in a museum environment, in M. Adriaens and M. Dowsett (eds.), Spectroscopy, Diffraction and Tomography in Art and Heritage Science, Elsevier, 2021, 103-131

- P. Ricciardi, A. Mazzinghi, S. Panayotova, I corali di San Giorgio Maggiore. Le analisi scientifiche, in F. Toniolo and C. Ponchia (eds.), L'InCanto della miniatura. I Corali di San Giorgio Maggiore a Venezia, 2020, 319-325 with Italian version at p. 122-141

- P. Ricciardi and C. Schmidt Patterson, Science of the Book, in S. Panayotova (ed.), A Handbook of the Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts, Harvey Miller/Brepols, London and Turnhout, 2020, 35-71

- P. Ricciardi and J.K. Delaney, Multispectral and hyperspectral imaging of artworks, in S.L. López Varela (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences, Wiley Online Library, 2018,

- S. Panayotova and P. Ricciardi, The Artists, in The Breslau Psalter. MS 36-1950, Cambridge, The Fitzwilliam Museum. Commentary to the Facsimile Edition, Quaternio Verlag Luzern, 2018, 255-268

- P. Ricciardi, Appendix II. Technical Analyses, in The Breslau Psalter. MS 36-1950, Cambridge, The Fitzwilliam Museum. Commentary to the Facsimile Edition, Quaternio Verlag Luzern, 2018, 291-293

- G. Bertolotti and P. Ricciardi, The Use of Copper Sulphates in Sixteenth-Century Flemish Illumination: Simon Bening as a Case Study, in S. Panayotova and P. Ricciardi (eds.), Manuscripts in the Making: Art and Science vol. 2, Harvey Miller/Brepols, London and Turnhout, 2018, 118-131

- S. Legrand, P. Ricciardi and K. Janssens, The Benefits of Scanning Illuminated Manuscripts with MA-XRF and MA-rFTIR, in S. Panayotova and P. Ricciardi (eds.), Manuscripts in the Making: Art and Science vol. 2, Harvey Miller/Brepols, London and Turnhout, 2018, 169-181

- S. Panayotova, L. Pereira Pardo and P. Ricciardi, Illuminators’ materials and techniques in fourteenth-century English manuscripts, in S. Panayotova and P. Ricciardi (eds.), Manuscripts in the Making: Art and Science vol. 1, Harvey Miller/Brepols, London and Turnhout, 2017, 46-63

- P. Ricciardi and S. Panayotova, Painting materials in the Fitzwilliam Book of Hours: new discoveries, in S. Panayotova and P. Ricciardi (eds.), Manuscripts in the Making: Art and Science vol. 1, Harvey Miller/Brepols, London and Turnhout, 2017, 144-155

- *P. Ricciardi and S. Panayotova, A holistic, noninvasive approach to the technical study of manuscripts. The case of the Breslau Psalter, in A. Nevin and T. Doherty (eds.), The noninvasive analysis of painted surfaces: scientific impact and conservation practice, Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, Washington DC, 2016, 25-36

- S. Panayotova (ed.). COLOUR. The art and science of illuminated manuscripts, Harvey Miller/Brepols, London, 2016, wrote technical appendix and co-authored two essays and twenty-four entries for the printed catalogue: essays 2 and 7, cat. nos. 1, 4-8, 11, 13, 15, 19, 26-30, 33-36, 90, 96, 97, 102, 105.

- P. Ricciardi and A. Pallipurath, The five colours of art: non-invasive analysis of pigments in Tibetan prints and manuscripts, in H. Diemberger, F.-K. Ehrhard and P. Kornicki (eds.), Tibetan Printing: Comparison, Continuities and Change, Brill, Leiden and Boston, 2016, 485-500

- P. Ricciardi and A. Pallipurath, Colours, in M. Elliott, H. Diemberger and M. Clemente (eds.), Buddha's Word: The Life of Books in Tibet and Beyond, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, 2014, 103-104

- *P. Ricciardi, M. Facini, J. K. Delaney, Painting and illumination in early Renaissance Florence: the techniques of Lorenzo Monaco and his workshop, in D. Saunders, M. Spring and A. Meek (eds.), The Renaissance Workshop, Archetype Publications, London, 2013, ISBN: 9781904982937, 1-9

- *P. Ricciardi and Ph. Colomban, Raman spectroscopy of ceramics and glasses, in J. M. Chalmers, H. G. M. Edwards and M. D. Hargreaves (eds.), Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy in Forensic Science, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2012, ISBN: 9780470749067, 417-426,

- *P. Ricciardi, F. Amato, Ph. Colomban, Raman spectroscopy as a tool for the non-destructive characterization of slips and glazes of a “sgraffito” Renaissance production, in K. T. Biró, V. Szilagyi and A. Kreiter (eds.), Vessels: Inside and OutsideProceedings of EMAC’07, Hungarian National Museum, Budapest, 2009, 217-222, ISBN 9789637061677

- *P. Ricciardi, L. Nodari, B. Fabbri, S. Gualtieri, U. Russo, Contribution for a mineralogical thermometer to be applied to low fired and/or non-carbonate ceramics, in S. Y. Waksman (ed.), Archaeometric and Archaeological Approaches to CeramicsProceedings of EMAC’05, Archaeopress, London, 2007, 13-18, ISBN 9781407301297

- *G. E. Gigante, S. Ridolfi, M. Colapietro, P. Ricciardi, Quantitative analysis of ancient metal artefacts by means of FP-EDXRF spectrometers: a critical review, in R Van Grieken and K. Janssens (eds.), Cultural Heritage Conservation and Environmental Impact Assessment by Non-Destructive Testing and Micro-Analysis, 2005, Taylor & Francis Group, London, 1-10, ISBN 9789058096814

Digital resources

- E. Poleg and P. Ricciardi, How Thomas Cromwell used cut and paste to insert himself into Henry VIII’s Great Bible, The Conversation, 13 August 2020,

- C. Slottved Kimbriel and P. Ricciardi, A closer look at the cabinet miniature of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, National Trust Collections website, 29 May 2018,

ILLUMINATED: manuscripts in the making, research and teaching resource co-authored with S. Panayotova and D. Jackson, 2016,

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