Lake, in geography, a collection of waters of a considerable extent, and having no immediate communication with the ocean.
Lakes are divided into two classes: 1. Those, which contain fresh water; and, 2. Such as are saline. The chief lakes in England are those of Keswick and Winander-mere, in the northern counties : there are likewise several in Scotland, which are distinguished by the name of Lochs.
In cold climates, lakes are of considerable utility ; for the warm vapours exhaled from them, mitigate the intense frost that prevails during the winter season. They are of still greater advantage in the southern regions, when situated at a distance from the sea; because the evaporation caused by the heat of the sun, refreshes the adjacent country with frequent showers, and thus renders it a beautiful garden. Beside the genial temperature to which the British lakes greatly contribute, they contain abundance of fish, and might be rendered still more profitable by conveying to them the spawn of fish from rivers, by means of jars. (See also vol. ii. p. 296). This me thod bath been long practised in China, and, we conceive, might be productive of great advantages, if it could be adopted in this country.
Lake, in the imitative arts, signifies a red colour employed by painters, which was originally formed of gum -lac. It is at present prepared chiefly from scarlet rags, cochineal, or Brazil-wood. The best, however, is obtained from the first of these articles, in the following manner:
First, let a pound of pearl-ash be dissolved in two quarts of water, and the solution be filtred through paper. A pound of clean scarlet shreds, and two quarts of water, are next to be added to the liquor, and the whole boiled till the rags are perfectly divested of their tinge; when they are to be taken out and pressed. Three additional pounds of shreds are now to be boiled in the same solution; and, during this process, a pound and a half of the bone of cuttle-fish are to be dissolved in one pound of aqua-fortis. This liquid is next to be combined with the former solution ; and the whole, on being suffered to subside, will deposit a sediment, which forms what is called lake. The liquor is then to be strained, and the sediment mixed four or five times, successively, in two gallons of spring water, till all saline particles are extracted ; lastly, it is to be drained, and dropped through a funnel on clean boards, when the lake will assume the form of cones or pyramids, in which it must be suffered to dry, and the preparation will be fit for use.
For a more simple rnethod of preparing different lakes, or pigments, the reader will consult p. 38 of our 2d volume.