3D Scanned Images of Fayum Encaustic Panels

 In Julie's Fayum Mummy Research

Way back in 2012, when I first started painting with wax, I discovered the origins of wax painting goes back some 2,000 years, to ancient icons, and funeral portraits, painted by the Egyptians, particularly in the Fayum region.   

This ancient region is roughly 60 miles south of modern day Cairo.  There are other spellings found, Fayium, Fayoum, Fayem, Fayum, all one and the same place.

There was precious little information I could find about them at the time, they left me thoroughly perplexed, and desperate to find out more!   There was such a lack of information… about encaustic in England generally, and even less so about these historic pieces…

A long story short, after countless hours of research and investigation, I discovered some of these Encaustic Wax Fayum Mummy Panels on display at The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. 

I contacted one of the conservators there, Jevon Thistlewood, who kindly arranged to meet me, along with another UK leading expert Susan Walker.  

I spent much of the day with them, they were so generous with their time, and they gave me an absolutely fascinating insight into these historic Fayum panels.  They told me about some of the research that had been carried out to date, and the next intention to understand the panels and their materials better.   

My visit included some time in the conservation rooms… what a treat… looking at these panels… a couple of which weren’t on public display, up close, was palpable… and to then to be able to cross reference them on their computer, with the results from their 3D imaging scanners…  oh my word… they were living my dream job… it was absolutely fascinating, and I lapped up every minute…!!   

(Those of you who have been on a workshop or demonstration with me, may recall me excitedly telling about my time there…!)


Anyhow, that visit with Susan and Jevon led me onto some more research, at the Petrie Museum in London… more fascinating days out learning about the history of the region.

We kept in touch on and off over the years, and Jevon had informed me of the APPEAR Project (Ancient Panel Paintings: Examination, Analysis, and Research) including, an exhibition called “Paint the Eyes Softer” … in reference to some written instructions found on one of the panels.  There was a two day conference, and some investigative work at The Getty Museum in the States, back at the start of 2018. 

I was so frustrated that I couldn’t get out there to see it in person at the time! Anyhow, I’ve been keeping an eye on this APPEAR Project from afar…

It’s great to see more and more reports appearing on the web that I just weren’t available before… there are photographs and videos of some of the Fayum Panels I saw under those imaging scanners all those years ago at The Ashmolean Museum!  

To see more about the project as a whole, go to the Getty APPEAR Project Website.

Also, if you google  ‘APPEAR Project Fayum Portraits’ …  it will bring up a few blogs of research by different museums around the globe… here are a couple of interesting ones to get you started… they bring a fascinating insight into some different findings…

The British Museum

Penn Museum

There is an additional report here on discoveries that have been made about the materials used for the more technically minded… (I find it interesting, but tend to scan to the summaries after glazing over the chemical analysis findings!!) 

If you want to find out more about the investigations, there are various articles and reports to be found by searching combinations of ‘Paint the Eyes Softer’ / ‘APPEAR’ / ‘Getty’ I don’t want to list them all here.  There are a number of articles.

Do let me know if you have found the information shared here interesting…  


If you want to try your hand at encaustic painting, check out my courses here:  https://artyheaven.com/learn-encaustic/

Let me know how you get on!

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