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Friday, June 1 • 10:30am - 11:00am
(Book and Paper) Transparent Liquid Colors: "Not Just For Ornament"

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Today, transparent graphic effects can be made with the click of a mouse. However, in the 18th century, a specific type of colorant was commercially manufactured to render clear, brilliant, transparent effects. These colorants were called transparent liquid colors. They are little mentioned in the conservation literature and in the history of watercolor. These liquids are very different from water-based media used for other types of objects, such as miniatures and even other types of popular prints. The transparent liquids were commonly used for coloring maps, plans, prints, and even painting on velvet. This paper will examine the history and development of the transparent liquids and will include observations from recreations based on recipes found in historic manuals. The identification of transparent liquids, visually and analytically, may help to answer one of the vexing questions regarding hand coloring – that is “who put the color on the map or print?” The use of the transparent colors may suggest a professional or technical hand, versus amateur, particularly after the invention of watercolor in cake form.

avatar for Joan Irving

Joan Irving

Conservator, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Joan received a B.A. in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1982. From 1985 to 1988, Joan coordinated the exhibition, catalogue, and conservation for “Legacies of Genius,” an exhibition of over 200 rare books, manuscripts, and works of... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 10:30am - 11:00am MDT
Texas Ballroom D Marriott Marquis Houston