This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
The decoration of painted surfaces so as to imitate natural marbles bears a close relation to graining in imitation of woods. It varies according to the figure of the marble simulated, the principal kinds being as follows.
The ground colour is black, laid on very smooth, and slightly oiled; the marble colour will be composed of white, ochre, orange chrome, Indian red, and black, in varying proportions. The marble colour is rubbed in in disconnected irregular patches by a large pencil, fine irregular lines being added both connecting the patches and crossing the general direction. An overgraining of dark and light lead colour may occupy the spaces between the fine lines, and a glazing of white touches will help to develop the patches.
Use light lead colour as a ground, and put in a confused mass of fine lines in black by the aid of a feather; soften with a badger blender, and, when dry, glaze with thin white of unequal strength.
Use light grey for a ground colour, and glaze it with a thin mixture of black and Vandyke brown, with a little Indian red at intervals. To simulate the fossils, use a stick with a piece of rag round it, then glaze with the same colours, and bring out the fossils by solid white and edging with fine black.
The ground colour is a bluish lead. Put in streaks of black and white (ground in oil) alternately by dipping a feather into turpentine and then into the colour; soften with a blender, add a few white touches, and soften again.
The ground colour is black. Glaze over this with a very dark green from Prussian blue and chrome yellow, with a sash tool; on this streak with a lighter green on a feather, with a little Indian red interspersed, all in one direction; cross this with curling streaks of thin white, blend well, allow to dry, glaze with Italian pink and Antwerp blue, bring up the light streaks with touches of white, and finally blend again.
The chief varieties are grey and red (Aberdeen). Rub in the ground colour of light grey for the former, or salmon tint for the latter. The marbling colours will be thin black for the former, and black, red, and white for the latter. These colours are put on in dots and splashes, either by stippling with a coarse sponge dipped in the colour, or by springing the colour from a short, stiff, broad brush.
Oil a ground of light green drab; rub in subcircular patches of a mixture of Victoria lake and Indian red; between these put in, with a feather dipped in turpentine, successive tints of olive green (white, raw sienna, and blue black), and grey (white, Prussian blue, and ivory black), blending well. The olive and grey tints are glazed with white, and the dark with crimson lake; and a final touching up is given with very thin white on a feather.
On an oiled ground of bluish grey, rub in a mixture of ochre and Indian red. Cover part of the work with a rich brown made from ivory black and Indian red and scatter patches of black about by a paper pad dipped into the colour. Repeat the patching with light blue and with white; then wipe out a few irregular lines so as to show up the grey ground colour. Finally, glaze partially with black and Indian red.
The ground colour is buff, made with ochre. The various marbling tints are made from the following ingredients: - A mixture of Indian red and ivory black for dark veins, with a few varying shades by the addition of white; a selection of graduated tints from white, Indian red, and Prussian blue. The glaze is made from raw sienna and ochre, with a trace of crimson lake at intervals. First put in the buff ground, and on this a pronounced irregular vein across the work of the first marbling colour, applied on a feather dipped in turpentine; lead a few veinlets from the main vein, and put in others with the second marbling colour, also on a turpentined feather; soften with a badger blender; on the dry surface rub a little linseed-oil with a silk rag; touch up with thin white on a feather; soften as before; add the glaze colour, and touch up the main vein with ivory black on a pencil.
Cover an oiled black ground with dark green made from chrome yellow and Prussian blue; add, with a feather, patches of lighter green, with occasionally a little Indian red, interspersed with irregular blotches of black and white; on the dry surface, put a green glazing coat of Italian pink and Antwerp green; again touch up the whites, and give them a fine black margin.