Numerous treatises were published in the 17th century, from Italy and Spain to France, England and the Netherlands. Many of them addressed the issue of studio practice, the artist’s materials, and the pigments were described in this context.
Focusing especially on miniature painting and oil painting, 110 pigments are discussed in the extracts from the 10 treatises included in this little volume. And of general concern was the mixing of pigments to achieve a wider range of nuances, hence it was the century of the first colour charts. On them the pigments were named in several languages, providing a concordance of pigment names and an international palette.
The Editor’s essay discusses the Painter’s Studio and the innovations in the mixing of pigment colours.
•1 – •3 Samuel Cooper, Authentic Display of the Colours, 1634; •4-•5 Richard Waller, Quadrilingual Physiological Table of Colours, both Mixed and Simple, 1686;; •6-•8 Elias Brenner, Trilingual Nomenclature and Genuine Samples, Stockholm, 1680
Patricia Railing, In the Painter’s Studio – Studio Practice, Natural and Artificial Pigments, Simple and Mixed or Compound Pigments, Concordance of the 3 Charts, To Set the Palette is to Think in Colour, Note on the Treatises
English Treatises – No. 1. Henry Peacham, Gentleman, From The Art of Drawing with the Pen, and Limming in Water Colours, No. 2. Edward Norgate, From Miniatura, or the Art of Limning, 1627/1648.No. 3. Richard Waller, A Catalogue of Simple and Mixt Colours, 1686.
An International Treatise – No. 4. Theodore Turquet de Mayerne, FromPainting, Sculpture, and of the Lesser Arts, 1620-1634.
Spanish Treatises – No. 5. Vicente Carucho, From Dialogues on Painting, 1633. No. 6. Anonymous, From A Tract on the Art of Painting, c. 1656.
An Italian Treatise – No. 7. Gian Batista Volpato, From The Mode to be Observed in Painting, late 17th century.
French Treatises – No 8. Pierre Le Brun, Painter, From, Collection of Essays on the Wonders of Painting, 1635, with No. 9. René François [Etienne Binet], From Essay on the Wonders of Nature, 1621. No. 10. Roger de Piles, From The First Elements of Practical Painting, 1684. Pigments Named in the 17th century Treatises Plates •9 to •12: The Palettes and the Pigment Swatches
PIGMENTS DESCRIBED IN THE THREE TREATISES
Ceruse – Artificial.
Flint white – Natural-Artificial.
Spanish white – Artificial.
Venetian Ceruse – Artificial.
White lead – Artificial.
General – Artificial.
Gutta Gamba, Gamboge – Natural, plant.
Massicot, masticot – Artificial.
Mountain ochre – Natural.
Ochre – Natural.
Ochre de Luke or Luce – Natural.
Ochre de rue, de rouse – Natural.
Orpiment – Natural.
Pinkes – Artificial, plant.
Purpurino – Artificial.
Saffron orange – Artificial, plant.
Stil-de-grain – Artificial, plant.
Bloodstones – Natural.
Brabant lake – Artificial, plant.
Brazilwood – Artificial, plant.
Burnt oker – Artificial.
Carmine – Pigment and colour name.
Cinnabar – Natural. Crimson – Colour name.
Dragon’s blood – Artificial, lake, plant.
English red – Natural.
Florentine lake – Artificial, lake, animal.
Haematite – Natural.
Indian lake or Indian lac – Artificial, lake, animal.
Kermes – Artificial, animal.
Lakes – Fine and Common. Artificial.
Logwood – Artificial, plant.
Madder – Artificial, plant.
Minium – Artificial.
Ochre, Oker, Rubrica – Natural.
Parisian red – Artificial, lake, plant.
Realgar – Natural.
Red earth, ochre – Natural.
Red-brown – Natural.
Red lead – Artificial.
Reddle or Ruddle – Natural.
Rose-colour. Artificial, lake, plant.
Rosette – Artificial, lake, plant and animal.
Rouget – Artificial, lake, plant.
Rubrica – Natural.
Rubricks, Bloodstone, Haematite – Natural.
Sandarac, Sandaraque as Realgar – Natural.
Sandarac as Red Lead – Artificial.
Sandyx – Artificial.
Scarlet – Colour name.
Sinaper, Sinopis – Natural.
Sinaper Lake – Artificial, lake.
Sinopis – Natural.
Syricum – Artificial.
Venetian lake – Artificial, lake, animal.
Vermilion – Artificial.
Barilla green – Artificial, plant.
Bice, bise, green – Natural.
Bladder green – Artificial, lake, plant.
Chrysocolla – Natural.
Crystallised verdigris. Artificial.
Copper greens – Artificial.
Distilled verdigris – Artificial.
Green earth – Natural.
Iris green – Artificial, plant.
Lasur green – Natural.
Malachite – Natural.
Mountain green – Natural.
Sap green – Artificial, plant.
Verdaccio – Artificial.
Verdet – Artificial.
Verdigris, verdegrease – Artificial.
Verditer – Artificial.
Verditure – Artificial.
Ash blue – Natural.
Azure – Colour name.
Azurite – Pigment names.
Bice, bise blue – Natural.
Cerulée – Artificial.
Flanders blue – Artificial, plant.
Indebaudias – Artificial, plant.
Indico, indicoe, indigo – Artificial, plant.
Lapis Armenius – Natural.
Litmos blue / litmus – Artificial, plant.
Mountain blue / Montanum. Natural.
Smalt – Artificial.
Spanish blue – Natural.
Ultramarine – Natural-artificial.
Ultramarine from Cyprus – Natural.
Woad – Artificial, plant.
“Brusle”, Burnt yellow ochre – Natural, artificial.
Florey blew – Artificial, plant.
Orchal, orchil – Artificial, plant.
Roset – Artificial, lake.
Brown asphaltum – Natural.
Browne of Spaine – Natural, Artificial.
Cologne brown – Natural.
Gallstone – Natural.
Spalt – Natural.
Umber – Natural.
Ivory black – Artificial.
Bone black – Artificial.
Charcoal black – Artificial.
Lamp black – Artificial.
Seacole – Natural.
The International Palette
From left to right: white lead, yellow ochre, vermilion, stil-de-grain, followed by browns and blacks.
White lead. “White lead is made by putting vine branches in butts, pouring vinegar on to them, fixing sheets of lead on the top, and fastening them up air-tight; then, after some time the ceruse will be found attached.” (René François, Essay on the Wonders of Nature, 1621)
Yellow ochre is a natural iron oxide pigment.
“16. Cinnabar or vermilion is made of sulphur and mercury ground together on the porphyry, then burnt in the furnace until they are sublimed.” (René François, Essay on the Wonders of Nature, 1621)
“22. “Stil-de-grain” is made with [white] earth mixed with the juice of certain flowers”, including broom flowers Genista, weld, Ruseda luteola, and buck-thorn berries, Rhamnus. (René François, Essay on the Wonders of Nature, 1621)
Umber is a native earth used both raw and burnt, the latter having a deep reddish tone.
Lamp black “is made of the Soot of Rosin [resin] or Pitch burnt.” (Richard Waller, A Catalogue of Simple and Mixt Colours, 1686) “If you want to make it, take a vessel of clay or wood or canvas, place it upside down, put burning resin into it, stopper it so there is no chink for the smoke to escape, and so forth. The smoke will stick to the walls of the container from which you may collect it after it is burned and you will have a black.” (Anon. Spanish painter, A Tract on the Art of Painting, c. 1656)
Terre verte or green earth is an iron silicate with clay.
Azurite, azzurro d’allemagna, lapis Armenius. “I take Lapis Armenius to be the blew Bice sold in the Shops, for it is light and friable.” (Richard Waller, A Catalogue of Simple and Mixt Colours, 1686)
Of Painting, From The Third Booke
Of Drawing, Limming, Colouring, Painting, and Graving
The Mysteryes of Nature and Art, London, 1634