Cornelissen Catalogue 2014/2015 - page 11

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Section 1
The Early Colours
Artists’ quality pigments have a continuously evolving history as new, more permanent, more available or more stable colours
supersede earlier colours. Nonetheless, there is an interest, particularly among restorers, in some of the older colours. Cornelissen
has a limited selection of relatively obscure pigments, ready prepared as watercolours or oils, or in powder form. For further
information, we recommend p 34-64 in the 1991 edition of “The Artists’ Handbook of Materials & Techniques” by Ralph Mayer
(Faber & Faber), p 35-39 in “The Materials and Techniques of Painting” by Jonathan Stevenson (Thames & Hudson) and p 15-190
in “The Artists’ Handbook” by Pip Seymour (Lee Press).
Arsenic trisulphide. Bright yellow and opaque. First used by
the ancient Egyptians.
Superseded in the Middle Ages by lead and tin yellows.
Arsenic disulphide. Yellow orange colour. First used by the
ancient Egyptians.
Lead monoxide. Pale yellow similar to Naples Yellow.
Little use as a pigment but often used as a drying agent in
varnishes. Used by Romans.
Natural tree resin. Bright, transparent yellow. Soluble in
alcohol and is often used as a colourant for alcohol based
Lead Tin Yellow
Bright yellow first used in the Middle Ages as a replacement
for Orpiment. Suitable for oil based media.
Vermilion Deep
Synthetic Mercuric Sulphide. Bright, opaque red. In use since
Roman times.
Hydrated copper acetate. Early artificial pigment which dates
from Roman times.
Greenish variety of native copper carbonate used as a
pigment by ancient Egyptians.
Synthetic Malachite
Artificial Copper Carbonate.
Blue Verditer
Copper hydroxide plus copper carbonate. Widely used in mid
18th century. Best in non oil based media.
Egyptian Blue
Mixture of copper silicates. One of the earliest artificial
pigments. Used in Egypt from about 3000 BC then used by
the Romans. Superseded by smalt. Suitable for fresco and
Native basic copper carbonate. Rare antecedent of cobalt
and cerulean blues. Usage dates back to the Romans. Works
poorly in oil and is therefore used primarily in aqueous
Genuine Lapis Lazuli
Usage dates from the Middle Ages when it was the only
reliable blue pigment. Different intensities of genuine
ultramarine are caused by the varying intensities of colour in
the original lazurite vein. South American origin.
A variety of cobalt blue glass. Historically considered to be
the direct continuation of Egyptian Blue. First made in the
17th century.
Genuine Ivory Black
Made by burning ivory scraps. Fine and intense with a high
carbon content.
Rose Madder & Madder Lake Genuine
Alizarin Lakes made by extracting dye from the root of the
madder plant (Rubia tinctorium) and precipitating onto an
inert base. In use since Roman times.
Stil de Grain
A transparent yellow lake pigment made from buckthorn
berries. Available Since the 17
century. Fugitive to light.
Naturally occuring mercuric sulfide. Bright, opaque orange-
red pigment. Used extensively for thousands of years.
Genuine Carmine
A beautiful transparent red lake pigment made by extracting
the dye from the South American Cochineal beetle.
– transparent
– semi-opaque
– semi-transparent
– opaque
*** – very good lightfastness
** – lightfast
* – poor lightfastness
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