Potichimanie, Or Imitation Porcelain. The art of imitating old china and porcelain of various descriptions is one which has recently been introduced into Paris.
The result of this work is, what it professes to be, an excellent imitation of every Sort of porcelain - Sevres, Etruscan, Japanese, Assyrian.
The work, when properly performed, is extremely beautiful, and wonderfully simple. No one can fail to succeed in it who studiously follows the rules we shall lay down.
The Materials required for Potichimanie are Glass Vases.
Sheets of paper printed in various designs.
A packet of gold powder.
Essence of lavender, or turpentine; and
The vases are of plain glass, in various forms, some with and some without lids.
At present these vases are too often inelegant in shape, as from the nature of the work it is necessary to have the neck large enough to admit the hand. Thus the graceful shape of the Etruscan vase is not yet achieved in Potichimanie. We think, however, that ere long we shall be able to devise some plan to remedy what we cannot help regarding as a great defect.
The vases are of various shapes and sizes, as seen in our engraving.
The sheets of paper are coloured and printed in various designs. Some have figures and other subjects in the graceful Etruscan style; others exhibit dragons, trees, flowers, birds, and similar things in Chinese design; the researches of Mr. Layard have furnished us with eccentric Assyrian figures and decorations, and again there are medallions, and other subjects exclusively French, besides borders of all these different sorts.
The first operation is to cut out the figures, birds, etc., with extreme care ; and we may observe, en passant, that beginners should always select such subjects as are tolerably compact. Running patterns with the various parts connected only by long sterns, and flowers, with the pistil and stamens projecting, are considerably more difficult to arrange than simpler patterns. Every part of the ground of the paper must be cut out, such as the space between the body and the bended arm, in any figure where that occurs; so that, in fact, nothing is left but what would be done by the brush, were the vase to be a painted one.
Now lay all the materials on the table, including a clean towel, some soft old linen, and a small basin of warm water.
Fold a sheet or two of blotting paper into several thicknesses, lay one of the subjects on it, and, with one of the brushes cover the painted side of it with gum in every part. Of course, your vases have been previously thoroughly washed, and well-dried. Put the paper inside the glass, rubbing down every part with your nail, so that no air may be left between the paper and the glass, as this would ruin the work. Proceed in this way with each figure, flower, or other design, until sufficient patterns are placed on the glass; borders may be added or not, according to the fancy, but they must always be of a character to harmonize with the rest of the design.
When all these are perfectly dry, examine them to see that no air-bubble is left. Then add a coating of gum at the back of the figures, without touching the glass. Let this also dry. Then a coat of varnish must he added, and this also must be done •without touching the glass.
After thoroughly drying this, remove with a wet cloth any spots of gum or varnish that may have fallen on the vase, and mix the colouring with sufficient essence of lavender to make it run freely. Pour the liquid into the vase, which you will twist round and round until it has adhered to and completely coloured every part. Pour the remainder out, let it dry, and then add another coat of varnish. The vase is then completed.
It is asserted that a vase so prepared will hold water. It may be; but we do not counsel the trial. An inner vessel, filled with water, might readily be placed in the larger one, for flowers.
In the large vase, of our engravings, it will be observed that the ground of the upper and lower part is black, and of the centre only a light colour. When this effect is to be produced, the colour must be applied with brushes, and not poured in as we have before directed. Each part should also dry before the next band is applied.
The choice of the ground is always a matter for much consideration, as on it greatly depends the truthful hue of the china. A peculiar blue and green are frequently seen in Oriental china; black and a soft salmon are common for the grounds of Etruscan subjects; the Bleu de Sevres is too well known to need comment. We saw a vase that pleased us greatly, with a running floral design in grey, edged with gold, on a soft pink ground. It was most chaste and beautiful.
Nothing but attention to these directions is required to enable any one to work in Potichimanie; and from the admirable effect produced, and the facility afforded to those to whom handsome vases and other similar decorations have been impossible, we confidently predict that this work will have as great success with the English ladies as with their continental sisters. But care and cleanliness are indispensable to success; and loose hanging sleeves or dresses being spoiled by a spot of gum or paint are far from desirable.
The price of materials varies, according to the elaborateness of the subjects, the gilding. etc, of the paper, and also the size of the vases. Unless these latter are very large, one sheet of paper will give more subjects than will be required for a pair. The entire materials may be had from $6. to $8, according to the size of the vases.