A procedure to enhance the faded colours of museums artefacts is presented. The method is based on adjusting the spectral profile of the light while maintaining a given white colour of the illumination. The procedure is tested using colour LED clusters and a series of damaged samples and their good condition counterparts. The intensity of the three components of four feasible LED clusters is computed in order to produce white illumination metameric to a white LED light source taken as a reference. Colorimetric calculations are performed to model the colour changes undergone by target colour samples using illumination based on colour LED association with respect to the white LED reference. The model is based on CIELAB specification and allows to optimize the choice of three-colour LED associations that modify the hue and the saturation of a few target colour areas of illuminated samples while other areas are left moderately desaturated. Modelling and experimental visual validation were practically obtained by adjusting the intensity of five calibrated colour LEDs, blue, cyan, green, amber and red, accommodated in a light booth. A visual validation was conducted asking 20 observers to rate the colourfulness appearance of aged inkjet prints under every LED cluster with respect to the colourfulness of their original counterparts under the reference white LED source. The visual assessments agreed with the colorimetric predictions. Finally, a demonstration is shown of the feasibility of the method by simulating the rejuvenated appearance of a natural history specimen of which the museum possesses two differently aged items. © 2011 Elsevier Masson SAS.
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