Irene Bilbao Zubiri is a doctoral student in analytical chemistry at Sorbonne Université.


Irene Bilbao Zubiri holds two Masters degrees, one in Cultural Heritage Materials and Archaeometry from the University of Bordeaux and the other in Chemistry from the University of Le Mans. These two complementary backgrounds have enabled her to focus her research on the study and analysis of pigments and dyes in different chrono-cultural contexts, for the conservation of cultural heritage and the understanding of the materials employed.

In 2021-2022, Irene Bilbao Zubiri was research engineer in colour chemistry at Sorbonne Université and the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) in Paris during her participation to the project.

So far, her work has focused on the analysis of colored materials on a wide variety of supports: textiles, illuminated manuscripts, wall or panel paintings. Passionate about the use of color in ancient societies, she dedicated her Master’s thesis to the methodological development of an analytical technique, called Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS), for the analysis of dyes from archaeological contexts, as well as on a tapestry from the Musée de la Tapisserie d’Aubusson dating from the 19th century.

Role within Chromotope

Irene Bilbao Zubiri will study the documentary archives and the related collections of dyes kept in the CNAM, sent in the first half of the XXth century by major European dyeing companies, to highlight their specificities and contribute to the chemical library that will lead to their classification.

Selected publications

  • Irene Bilbao Zubiri, Anne-Laure Carré, ‘Giving a New Status to a Dyes Collection: A Contribution to the Chromotope Project’, Heritage, 2023.

  • Irene Bilbao Zubiri, Anne-Laure Carré, Agnès Meynard, ‘Des colorants à l’étude : une participation du musée des arts et métiers au projet CHROMOTOPE’, CoRé n°6 (SFIIC), Sept 2023.

  • Irene Bilbao Zubiri, ‘New synthetic black dyes: their discovery, production and everyday use (1859-1930)’ Technè, n°55, 2023.

  • Bilbao Zubiri, I., Vallet, JM. « Les peintures murales de Saint-Martin de Fenollar et des Cluses Hautes : étude de la technique et éléments de conservation » in Mallet G. et Leturque A., Arts picturaux en territoires catalans (XII-XIVème siècles). Approches matérielles, techniques et comparatives, Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée, Montpellier, 2015.

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