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Article

Technique described by Alexander Cozens (see Cozens family, §1) in his book A New Method for Assisting the Invention in Drawing Original Compositions of Landscapes (1786), whereby a blot or accidental mark can be developed and incorporated into a composition. Cozens’s title may have been inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s description of a method of ‘quickening the spirit of invention’ by observing in damp walls and stones ‘strange landscapes’, ‘figures in violent action’, ‘expressions of faces’ and ‘an infinity of things’....

Article

A. Wallert

Medieval treatise containing a collection of chemical recipes, with descriptions on the preparation and application of pigments and dyes. It is a parchment codex written by different hands in the late 8th or early 9th century. The manuscript (Lucca, Bib. Capitolare, Cod. 490) is sometimes called the ‘Lucca manuscript’ but is better known as Compositiones ad tingenda, from the title of its first publication by Muratori, or Compositiones variae. The Compositiones is not a systematically organized treatise. It contains instructions for different craft practices in 157 recipes. Its subjects include the coloration of artificial stone for making mosaics; dyeing of skins, textiles, and other materials; the making of various chemical substances; and metallurgical operations.

The Compositiones has descriptions that make it of extreme interest for the history of painting techniques. It contains recipes for the preparation of mineral pigments and organic colorants and for gilding and gold inks. It has the first description of the making of ...

Article

Fillet  

Narrow, flat, raised moulding used to give emphasis in architecture. The term is employed, for example, for the ridges (stria) between the flutes of an Ionic column, for the ribbon-like ornament between the echinus and necking of a column and for the uppermost step of a cornice. In the decorative arts fillets are used to hide the edges of wallpaper or hangings. In leatherwork (especially bookbindig), the term denotes a wheel tool used to impress a straight line or the straight line made by the tool. (...

Article

Glair  

Rupert Featherstone

Article

Gouache  

Jonathan Stephenson

[bodycolour]

Commercially manufactured opaque watercolour paint popular with designers, illustrators and airbrush artists. The term also, and more correctly, refers to the use of opaque watercolours in a loosely defined area of technique and the materials and effects associated with such painting. Gouache, also called bodycolour, is simply water-based paint rendered opaque by the addition of white paint or pigment (e.g. Chinese white) or a white substance, such as chalk or even marble dust. It is an evolved form of Tempera paint, descended from distemper. The application of the term gouache is often imprecise, but it is most often associated with colours bound in glue-size or gum. The commercial product varies considerably. It is usually bound with gum arabic or dextrin. An inferior version is known as poster colour or poster paint. Gouache produces flat, matt, even colour, and, being thinned with water for use, it is a convenient and quick medium to employ, hence its continuing popularity with designers and illustrators....

Article

Ink  

John Winter

Imprecise term applied to a number of more or less fluid materials that are used for either writing or printing the written word or have evolved for a variety of illustrative and artistic purposes. Most inks for the written and printed word have always been black, or nearly so, but coloured inks also evolved for some writing, for embellishment and for pictorial work.

See also Pigment, especially §§II and IV.

A primary distinction can be made between inks used for writing and drawing and those used for printing. The former are usually water-based and are sometimes barely distinguishable from watercolour paints, especially in the case of coloured inks. Printing inks may be water-, oil- or solvent-based. Ink for writing and drawing must flow freely from the pen or brush and must be of adequate tinting strength. These properties can be provided by black pigments held in suspension or by solutions that are or become black, but in each case only a few preparations have been found adequate, at least before modern times. ...

Article

Lacuna  

Rupert Featherstone

Article

Limning  

Rupert Featherstone

Term for the painting of portrait miniatures in watercolour, a technique that was popular from the 17th to the 19th century (see Miniature, §II). The term has also been applied to manuscript illumination, and in the USA self-taught naive portrait painters were described as limners until the early 19th century....

Article

Lon R. Shelby

Book containing regulations for the masons’ craft (see Mason, §I). With the increasing literacy of masons in their own vernacular languages in late medieval Europe, books played a more prominent role in the craft. Well-known examples of books of regulations, ‘Articles and Points’, were developed by English and German masons, based on ‘customs of the masons’ that had been maintained in earlier centuries through oral traditions rather than in writing. Two English versions of the ‘Articles and Points of Masonry’ have survived from the beginning of the 15th century (London, BL, Bibl. Reg. 17 A1; London, BL, Add. MS. 23198), but these were not the first such written ‘custumals’, for the second version (the Cooke MS.) refers to ‘old books of masonry’ and ‘the book of charges’ that had been ‘written in Latin and in French both’.

The English Articles and Points do not stipulate that these written regulations were to be kept in a book in the masons’ ...

Article

Morocco  

Article

Nigel J. Morgan, Howard Creel Collinson, T. P. Connor and Sharon Sadako Takeda

Collection of designs brought together for use as a model or source by artists, craftsmen, and architects.

Nigel J. Morgan

Relatively few medieval preparatory drawings have survived, partly because of the practice of using disposable wax tablets for such work. Those that exist are mostly part of collections of patterns or models, which artists in a particular workshop used as a repertory of ornamental forms and figure types. Characteristic of these collections is the random juxtaposition of differing subjects in different sizes; they are often crowded together with no systematic organization. Several artists of varying quality usually contributed to the model book. The designs were first drawn in lead or silverpoint and then overdrawn in brown or black ink, and in some cases were modelled using brown or multicolour washes. Such designs should be differentiated from the rough sketches that in rare instances are found in the margins of manuscripts as a trial version of the subject painted in the miniatures or historiated initials. The latter are in the true sense sketches, by contrast to the more finished drawings of the pattern books. In distinguishing between these two approaches there has been considerable discussion as to when and why the artist’s sketchbook came to supersede the pattern or model book....

Article

Pen  

Shirley Millidge

Instrument made from a reed, quill or metal-tipped equivalent, generally used with Ink for writing (see Script) or drawing (see Drawing §III 2., (i)). In East Asia brush pens are used (see China, People’s Republic of §XIV 4., and Japan §VII 1., (ii)).

The earliest pens were made from reeds, dried, cut short and shaped to a blunt point. These were used by the Egyptians (see Egypt, ancient, §XI) and subsequently by the Romans. Isidore, Bishop of Seville, writing in the early 7th century ad, referred to the quill as a substitute, and by the Middle Ages the reed was employed only for very large scripts. It was, however, used by Erasmus in the mid-16th century in deference to its Classical associations. In the Islamic world the reed pen has always been the preferred writing instrument (see Islamic art, §III, 2(i)...

Article

Scroll  

Amy McNair, Jane Casey Singer, Jyotindra Jain and Claire Illouz

Roll of cloth or paper with written text and/or decoration. This article discusses the scroll in Asia; for Western scrolls, see Roll. The scroll format developed independently in several regions of Asia. Its advantages over other pictorial formats, such as screens and murals, are portability, durability and ease of storage. Scrolls were first made in China c. the 1st–2nd century ad. The form was transmitted to Korea and Japan with Buddhism in the 4th and 6th century. Scrolls exist in two forms: the handscroll or horizontal scroll (Chin. shoujuan; Jap. emakimono) and the hanging or vertical scroll (Chin. lizhou; Jap. kakemono). The handscroll is read from right to left, being unrolled to the left one arm’s length at a time, while the right-hand portion is loosely re-rolled inwards. When finished it is carefully rolled back to the right. The hanging scroll is completely unrolled when on display. Similar in design to East Asian hanging scrolls are ...

Article

Stylus  

Jonathan Stephenson

[style]

Pointed instrument, typically of bone or metal, used to impress or score a soft or receptive surface. It has a variety of uses. In writing a stylus, perhaps of stick or reed, was used to mark tablets of clay or wax throughout ancient times. The cuneiform writing of the Sumerians is the earliest example, dating from the late 4th millennium bc or early 3rd. The wedge-shaped marks must have resulted from an angular stylus impressed downwards into the clay; any attempt at a more flowing script would have been hampered by ridges of wet clay building up around the stylus point or the letter forms themselves. With the development of the pen, the stylus ceased to be a writing instrument and became instead an implement for making guiding marks. In many early manuscripts the point of a hard stylus was used by the scribe to lay out the ruling by scoring the parchment between pricked-out measurements (...

Article

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