For many hundreds of years the best method of generating the pigment was to expose metallic lead to vinegar. Pigments that contribute lightscattering properties to coatings are generally known as white, or hiding, pigments. In the dark pink shading on the pink robes, reflectance spectra show a reflectance band at 460 nm, an inflection point at 614 and two absorption bands at 530 and 570 nm. The links lead to an art materials supplier, in most cases more specific art medium or paint binder info, pigment properties. Volume 2 contains extensive studies of nine pigments including. The information in these articles was updated for this volume to reflect new. Lead pigments, lead based paint, lead oxide, red lead. The most important contribution to art materials from greece was lead white, a pigment that would become ubiquitous in western art. Revealing the origin and history of leadwhite pigments by. The difference between lead white made according to modern practice and that made by the dutch stack process is the size and shape of the pigment particles. It is still regarded as the whitest of the white pigments, consists of basic lead carbonate 2pbco 3 2 pboh 2 and is, of course, toxic. White lead is the basic lead carbonate, 2pbco 3 pboh 2. They act by scattering all wavelengths of light, owing to their relatively high refractive index, so that they are perceived as white by the human eye. I have discovered that making your own lead pigment the oldfashioned way is far, far easier than i thought.
Lead white was the primary white pigment used for painting until around 1921, when it was displaced by titanium white and zinc white. There is a welldefined dividing line between pigments and dyes. Lead white was the only white used in european easel paintings until the 19th century when its poisonous lead content restricted its manufacture and sale as an artists pigment. Rublev colours stack lead white is made according to the sixteenth century dutch stack process. Lead white is the most important of all lead pigments and, not overlooking the special uses of lime.
It is one of the oldest paint pigments used by humans. Pigments through the ages overview lead white webexhibits. Examples are the books by harley 1982 and carlyle 2001. From this follows that a certain colorant can be both a pigment and a dye depending on in which vehicle it is used. The histories of each pigment are well thought out, and unlike many older books on this subject, the collective authors have not neglected the nonwestern world. Dutch, or stack process white, whatever you want to call it, was generally made by putting pots containing lead and vinegar into a shed full of horse manure, or at least buried in a large pile of it. Where applicable, clicking on the artist paint or pigment company code next to the pigments name will take you off site where more information can be found on the artist color. Gettens freer gallery of art, dated i6 december, i955. Eu so it would may be an idea to create your own lead white paint instead. Although the basic lead carbonate naturally occurs as the rare mineral hydrocerussite, it has been produced artificially since the early historical times and extensively used for artistic and cosmetic purposes the lead white. Because of this compounds solubility in water, it is a toxic hazard, and its use in coatings has been restricted since the 1960s. Lead white was the only practical choice for white oil or tempera paint until the 19th century.
To make their paint, artists would grind a block of lead into powder, exposing highly toxic dust particles. Composition and microstructure of the lead white pigment. It is a complex salt, containing both carbonate and hydroxide ions. Lead white has been in use since antiquity and it was the most important white pigment until the end of the nineteenth century. The color varied depending upon how long the mineral was roasted. The pigments liberal use resulted in what was known as painters colic, or what wed now call lead poisoning. White lead is the chemical compound pbco 3 2 pboh 2. Pigments through the ages manufacture recipes lead white. Hundreds or thousands of earthenware pots containing vinegar and lead were embedded in a layer of either tan bark or cow dung.
In 1815, the first varnish plant was opened also n philadelphia. The color of art pigment database, an artists paint and. An organic pigment such as cochineal was mixed with lead white and calcite, identified by xrf and raman figure 6. Early in the 1800s, zinc oxide white pigment was invented in europe, which would eventually come to play a huge role in the popularization of house paints. Lead white is made by a modern process yielding a finely divided powder of high purity. It was the only white used in european easel paintings until the 19th century when its poisonous lead content restricted its manufacture and sale as an artists pigment. It consists of about 70% lead carbonate and 30% lead hydroxide. Clicking on the paint or pigment manufacturer code next to the pigment name will take you off site where more information can be found. The early history of lead pigments and cosmetics in china. History of lead white manufacture until the twelfth century. This is an early recipe, strips of metallic lead are placed in porous earthenware pots, over weak acetic acid vinegar in sheds with fermenting manure that produce heat and co 2. Chemically, it is basic lead carbonate, a mixture of lead carbonate and lead hydroxide.
A short history of pigments the story of pigments is a story of chance, experimentation and science but above all it is about providing human beings with the means by which to express themselves, and this has helped create some of our greatest artistic movements including the. The history of house paint colors in america painting in. It was first identified in literature as a pigment by pliny, who mentions it, among other colors, as used by the ancients to paint ships. Lead white was being produced during the 4th century bc. Pigment history california state university, northridge. Sometimes the artist paint manufacturers will add zinc or titanium to cool or brighten the naturally warmer tones of the lead white. Below you will find a fascinating photo journal of the traditional and ancient process of making lead white pigment, exactly the same as would have been done in rembrandts time and which the company natural pigments very kindly posted on their forum page. This volume describes the history, characteristics, and scientific analysis of 10 pigments that have played a major role in the history of painting. The earliest commercial white pigment was white lead, basic lead carbonate 2pbco 3 pboh 2, which was widely used until about 192530. A handbook of their history and characteristics, ashok roy ed. White has the appeal of the nothingness that is before birth, of the world in the ice age. Illustrated throughout with full colour images reproduced to the highest possible quality, this book is based on years of painstaking research into the visual and. The great lead white shortage painting perceptions. See the key at the bottom of this page for all the art supply or pigment company codes.
An encyclopedic reference developed in collaboration with the national gallery of art, the artists pigments series combines two aspects of the study of pigments the history of individual pigments and dyes and scientific methods for identifying and characterizing artists colorantsrarely brought together in one publication. The lead white pigment, composed of two main mineral phases cerussite pbco3 and hydrocerussite 2pbco3pboh2, has been used in paintings since the antiquity. A handbook of their history and characteristics, volume 1. It was formerly used as an ingredient for lead paint and a cosmetic called venetian ceruse, because of its opacity and the satiny smooth mixture it made. This volume describes the history, characteristics, and scientific analysis of nine pigments that were originally discussed in articles published in studies in conservation between 1966 and 1974. Artists pigments, volume 2 national gallery of art. In paintings, admixtures of lead white with other whites may be encountered. The color of art pigment database is a free resource of pigment information for all artists. Compared to lead white, this new pigment is nontoxic.
It was the only white pigment used in european easel painting until the nineteenth century. Historically, lead white was the most important white pigment used in easel painting until the 19th century, when the more transparent white, zinc oxide, was introduced eastaugh et al. Investigation of photoluminescence of the two constitutive mineral. A handbook of their history and characteristics, volume 2. Not overlooking special uses of lime white in wall painting, it is safe to say that, historically, it is the most important of all white pigments. Investigations of paintings from the 16th to the 17th century using high precision lead isotope abundance ratios article pdf available in the analyst 6. This is an essential purchase for all painting conservators and conservation scientists dealing with paintings and painted objects. It was made by roasting white lead pigment in the air.
It was mentioned by pliny and vestruvious who describe its preparation from metallic lead and vinegar. Lead white has the warmest masstone of all the whites. The complete book about seventeenthcentury painting techniques, studio practices. White lead occurs naturally as a mineral, in which context it is known as hydrocerussite, a hydrate of cerussite. From the perspective of someone who is active in living history groups and calligraphy societies, the lists of who used these pigments, along with when and where, is a welcome feature. White lead has been the principal white of classical european oil painting. Lead white is the most important white pigment used in painting throughout history. Book and paper group, paper conservation catalog, aic, 1984, 1989. Lead white is the most important of all the white pigments. Minium, also known as red lead, is a bright orange red pigment that was widely used in the middle ages for the decoration of manuscripts and for painting. Artists pigments, volume 1 national gallery of art. To this white lead is added 40 cc of syrupy phosphoric acid, 18 j. Caco3 in fresco painting, the medium and the surface.
Lead white consists in a mixture of cerussite pbco 3 c and hydrocerussite pb 3 co 3 2 oh 2 hc that present different. Lime powder and gesso where the first whites available in prehistoric times. It has the color index names, colour index numbers, chemical constitution, art material safety information msds sheets, and other useful information on painting and paint making. Clifford dyer holley quotes from theophrastus history of stones as follows, in his book the lead and zinc pigments. Nevertheless, lead white has certain advantages over its titanium counterpart. In 1804, the first white lead plant was built in philadelphia. Although the natural mineral cerussite has rarely been noted in paintings, its synthetic counterpart, lead white, is considered to be the most important white pigment in paintings since the time of ancient greece. For instance, lead white is a warmer and softer white than titanium white, which means that it is more suitable for painting flesh tones. The greeks contribution to painting was the manufacture of white lead pigment which remained the most used white pigment available to artists until the 19th century. It was known to the ancient egyptians, greeks and romans and commonly used in the preparation of ointments and plasters, as well as cosmetics. It provides the first definitive manual dedicated to optical microscopy of historical pigments.
The free art ebook page is also a valuable reference. The british library, which has owned the book since the early 19th century. The link will most often take you to an art supplier where you can find more specific art medium or paint binder info, purchasing source, pigment properties, pigment history, msds sheets, and whether it is the artist premium or student economy grade. It was formerly used as an ingredient for lead paint and a cosmetic called venetian ceruse, because its opaque quality made it a good pigment. Lead white is the most important of all lead pigments. Appears in 8 books from 19061919 page 146 every person employed in the crystal department and in packing shall take a bath at the factory at least once a week. Among them, lead white was omnipresent, in the ground layers as well as in the pictorial layers, sometimes mixed with other colors. A short history of pigments the story of pigments is a story of chance, experimentation and science but above all it is about providing human beings with the means by which to express themselves, and this has helped create some of our greatest artistic movements including the renaissance, impressionism and modernism. Lead white native mineral is cerusite is a carbonate of lead which was in use since antiquity and was prepared from metallic lead and vinegar.1363 1111 495 174 21 476 1467 1111 124 1176 858 471 1082 64 1106 991 357 1385 968 105 1460 421 618 401 1001 847 11 1378 914 1047 1449 609 249 452 1475 992 751