This section is from the book "Chromatography; Or, A Treatise On Colours And Pigments, And Of Their Powers In Painting", by George Field. Also available from Amazon: Chromatography, or A Treatise on Colours and Pigments, and of Their Powers in Painting.
Florentine Lake differs from the last, only in the mode of preparation, the lake so called having been formerly extracted from the shreds of scarlet cloth. The same may be said also of Chinese Lake.
Hamburgh Lake is a lake of great power and depth of colour, purplish, or inclining to crimson, which dries with extreme difficulty, but differs in no other essential quality from other cochineal lakes - an observation which applies to various lakes under the names of Roman Lake, Venetian Lake, and many others; not one of which, however respectively beautiful or reputed, is entitled to the character of durability either in hue, shade, or tint.
Kermes Lake is the name of an an-tient pigment, perhaps the earliest of the European lakes; which name, from the Atkermes of the Arabians - a name probably given to the Kermes from Kerman, antient Carmania, on the border of Persia - is sometimes spelt cermes, whence probably cermosin and crimson, and kermine and carmine. In some old books it is called vermilion, in allusion to the insect, or vermes, from which it is prepared; a title usurped probably by the sul-phuret of mercury or cinnabar, which now bears the name of vermilion. This lake is prepared from the kermes, which formerly supplied the place of cochineal. We have obtained the kermes from Poland, where it is still collected; and some with which we have been favoured was brought from Cefalonia by Major-General Sir C. J. Napier, who states that it is employed by the modern Greeks under the appellation , for dyeing their caps red. This substance and the lac of lndia probably afforded the lakes of the Venetian painters, from whom, according to De Blancourt, the modern process for preparing the lake of kermes was obtained; the same appear to have been employed by the earliest painters in oil of the school of. Van Eyck. Some old specimens of the pigment which we obtained were in drops of a powdery texture and crimson colour, warmer than cochineal lakes, and having less body and brilliancy, but worked well, and withstood the power of light better than the latter, though the sun ultimately discoloured and destroyed them. In all other respects they resemble the lakes of cochineal.
Lac Lake is prepared from the lac or lacca of India, and is perhaps the first of the family of lakes. Its colouring matter resembles those of the cochineal and kermes, in being the production of a species of insects. Its colour is rich, transparent, and deep, - less brilliant and more durable than those of cochineal and kermes, but inferior in both these respects to the colours of madder. Used in body or strong glazing, as a shadow colour, it is of great power and much permanence; but in thin glazing it changes and flies, as it does also in tint with white lead.
A great variety of lakes, equally beautiful as those of cochineal, have been prepared from this substance in a recent state in India and China, many of which we have tried, and found uniformly less durable in proportion as they were more beautiful. In the properties of drying, etc., they resemble other lakes.
This appears to have been the lake which has stood best in old pictures, and was probably used by the Venetians, who had the trade of India when painting flourished at Venice. It is sometimes called Indian Lake.
Carmine (see 6), a name originally given only to the fine feculences of the tinctures of kermes and cochineal, denotes generally at present any pigment which resembles them in beauty, richness of colour, and fineness of texture: hence we hear of blue and other coloured carmines, though the term is principally confined to the crimson and scarlet colours produced from cochineal by the agency of tin. These carmines are the brightest and most beautiful colours prepared from cochineal, - of a fine powdery texture and velvety richness. They vary from a rose colour to a warm red; work admirably; and are in other respects, except the most essential - the want of durability - excellent pigments in water and oil: they have not, however, any permanence in tint with white lead, and in glazing are soon discoloured and destroyed by the action of light, but are little affected by impure air, and are in other respects like the lakes of cochineal; all the pigments prepared from which may be tested by their solubility in liquid ammonia, which purples lakes prepared from the woods, but does not dissolve their colours.
Madder Carmine, Or Field's Carmine, is, as its name expresses, prepared from madder. It differs from the rose lakes of madder principally in texture, and in the greater richness, depth, and transparency of its colour, which is of various hues from rose colour to crimson. These in other respects resemble the rubric or madder lakes, and are the only durable carmines for painting either in water or oil; for both which their texture qualifies them without previous grinding or preparation. - See Madder Lake, VII. 1.
Rose Pink is a coarse kind of lake, produced by dyeing chalk or whitening with decoction of Brazil wood, etc. It is a pigment much used by paper-stainers, and in the commonest distemper painting, etc, but is too perishable to merit the attention of the artist.
The rouge vegetate of the French is a species of carmine, prepared from safflow or safflower, of exquisite beauty and great cost. Its principal uses consist in dyeing silks of rose colours, and in combining with levigated talc to form the paint of the toilette, or cosmetic colours employed by the fair, who would have "Blooming youth and gay delight Sit on their rosy cheeks confess'd."
This pigment is, however, of too fugitive a colour to merit the attention of the artist, notwithstanding its great beauty, richness of colour, transparency, and free-working, - qualities which occasion it to be too often employed in heightening the apparent excellence of lakes and carmines. Chinese rouge and pink saucers have much of these qualities, and appear to be prepared also from the cartha-mus or safflower.
See Orange Or-pitnent.