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.
The pigment well known under this name is principally brought to us from China in oblong cakes, of a musky scent, ready prepared for painting in water; in which use it is so well known, and so generally employed, as hardly to require naming. It varies, however, considerably in colour and quality, and is sometimes, properly, called China ink. Various accounts are given by authors of the mode of preparing this pigment, the principal substance or colouring matter of which is a smoke black, having all the properties of our lamp-black; and the variety of its hues and texture seems wholly to depend upon the degree of burning and levigating it receives. The pigment known by the name Sepia is supposed to enter into the composition of the better sort.