This section is from the book "A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction Vol4: Plumbing And Gas-Fitting, Heating And Ventilation, Painting And Decorating, Estimating And Calculating Quantities", by The Colliery Engineer Co. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction.
130. Having, in the section on graining, recommended that the student procure, for special study, a collection of wood veneers, we have a like recommendation to make in respect to marble. The careful student must, indeed, to achieve success, make a study of the grain and markings from natural specimens of, at least, the principal kinds of marble in use.
Sienna Marble. The ground of sienna marble is white lead; the work is then to be evenly gone over with white paint, mixed with equal quantities of turpentine and oil. After this, mix two light tints, the one consisting of yellow ocher and white lead, and the other of vermilion and white lead, both mixed with equal quantities of oil and turpentine. With separate tools, dab patches on the white paint while yet wet, and with a brush soften the patches together, great care being taken not to allow the red tint to be too dominant.
On a palette, at the side of which is placed a palette cup containing turpentine, place a small quantity of blue black, and a like quantity of purple lake; then, with a sable pencil dipped in turpentine, lay a thin wash of the blue black, then vein on the wet work, and soften; work up the veins further with more blue black, so that the color may be a little darker, but still thin; after this, with a flat camel's-hair fitch dipped in turpentine mixed with a small quantity of purple lake and blue black, apply very thin washes in some of the open spaces, and soften lightly. When dry, put in whites, with white lead mixed with turpentine, using a sable pencil, subsequently softening the work with a badger. When the paints are quite hard, apply a light varnish.
Italian Pink Marble. Over a white ground, apply, as in the last case, a coat of white paint, then prepare tints of ultramarine and white lead, and of vermilion and white lead, each mixed with equal quantities of oil and turpentine, and with these, dab patches, as already described, and soften. On the palette, place some Indian red, and with a small pigeon feather dipped in turpentine, and some of the Indian red, work the pattern, care being taken again to soften well. When this is dry, mix some white lead, already thinly diluted with turpentine, and flat the whole of the work. Then, with a feather dipped in turpentine, scumble over the work and subsequently put in whites with white lead and turpentine. When the work is perfectly hard, it is to be varnished.
Verd Antique. The ground of verd antique is either black or dark green, the marbling colors being dark brown and green; with these, scumble over the work; then, with Brunswick green and white lead, scumble over again, and soften with a badger. Next, with a fitch, paint masses of white of various shapes, squares, irregular triangles, etc., and similar masses of black.
134. Serpentine marble is so called because of its supposed resemblance to the skin of the serpent. In its rich variety of color and almost indestructible hardness, it is eminently suitable for architectural ornaments. Precious or noble serpentine has nearly the same appearance as the green marbles of the East, called Egyptian green. The green is generally the cold color of the leek, but varies in shades, some appearing in the darkest olive. The veins which appear black sometimes run in a horizontal direction and then suddenly break and appear nearly upright; in other cases they seem to have undergone a violent concussion, breaking and shivering to small pieces. It is within the province of the geologist to explain this phenomenal manifestation in one of the most solid of minerals; sufficient is it, for the painter, to note the lines, so as to reproduce these as far as his skill permits. The common serpentine is found in great abundance in the Isle of Anglesea. It is not so bright or so varied as the "precious," the dark shades of green being much broader, and the light veins not so fine and reticulated. The white fossil remains, consequently, show more distinctly in small, long, square sections, of various sizes and forms. The black vein is so mixed with the darkest shades of green as to be, in some instances, scarcely perceptible, rendering the marble somewhat dull and unfit for ornamental painting.
The mode of reproducing all the green marbles, both in oil and distemper, must be the same as that directed for verd antique. The ground must, in all cases, be black, and the different shades of green formed by scumbling the white over the black, more or less thickly, according to the variety of shade required, and, when the whole is finished, glazing with green according to the tint of the marble. The difference between scumbling and glazing lies in the fact that, in glazing, the colors are so thinly mixed as to be transparent, while, in scumbling, the color is mixed thick, and then thinly spread or rubbed on with a hard brush.