This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
The method of procedure is as follows: -
The design is traced upon tracing paper, and the plaque is covered with a fine coat of white enamel. Then the tracing paper is laid upon the plaque and the design is gone over with a point, so that it presses at the places of contact upon this white powder, which adheres to the paper, and this is then removed, displaying a clear, dark line. The white covering the ground is now cleaned off with a stick or brush, and the remaining white, which forms the design, is fired. The white enamel is ground very much finer than any other enamel; and for this purpose a special appliance is used, consisting of a muller and ground glass slab. The white is first of all pulverised in a mortar, and then placed upon the slab and rubbed down with the muller with water. The design is now covered with white, and if a modulated or shaded design is chosen, then the white is painted thickly for the high lights and thinly for half tones, and the deepest darks are left. It will be necessary to fire each time a fresh layer of white is put on.
This is by far the most difficult of all the processes of pure enamelling. When it has been practised for some time and a successful piece of grisaille has been realised, the colours are laid upon it. There are one or two points about which I have generally found students experience some difficulty. The enamels which are laid over the white sometimes crack and peel off. Sometimes the white comes up through the enamel, making a spotty effect. At other times the white cracks and shows dark lines through the enamel. The causes are generally due to the wrong enamel being used. It requires an experience of years to become thoroughly acquainted with enamels which chemically combine and agree.
The brilliant colour which is seen in this work is obtained by the use of paillons of gold and silver.
They are applied to the enamel and shaded with iridium, then covered with transparent enamels. The use of paillons is one of the chief discoveries in the process of painted enamels, by which some of the most charming results are achieved. When all the colour has been well laid and fired, the remaining touches of gold are painted upon the enamel, only pure powder being employed, and these are fired at a much lower temperature than the enamels. Alexaxder Fisher.