§ VI. To colour, or varnish, Copperplate-prints.

Valuable Secrets concerning Arts and Trades:
or Approved Directions, from the best Artists, for the Various Methods...
Printed by Thomas Hubbard,
Norwich, 1795
Chap. V. Secrets concerning colours & painting.

§ VI. To colour, or varnish, Copperplate-prints.

LVII. To varnish Copperplate-Prints.

1. Have a frame made precisely to the size of your print. Fix it with common flour-paste, by the white margin on that frame. Let it dry, then lay the following transparent varnish on it, which is to be made without fire.

2. Dilute in a new glazed pipkin, with a soft brush, as big as your thumb, about a quarter of a pound of Venice turpentine, and two-penny worth of spike, and as much turpentine oils, and half a gill, or thereabouts, of spirit of wine. - This varnish being no thicker than the white of an egg, lay with your brush a coat of it on the wrong side of the print, and immediately, another on the right. Then set it to dry, not upright, but flat. And, if it should not dry quick enough, pass a light coat of spirit of wine on the whole.

LVIII. How to colour these prints, in immitation of Pictures in oil colours.

1. To paint the prints, you must work them on the back in the following manner. Prepare, first, your colours on a pallet, and then proceed thus:

2. The flesh-colour is made with a little white and vermilion, which mix with your pencil according to the degree of redness you will have it. - For the green of tree-laves, you must have mountain-green, ready prepared from, the colourman; and, for the finest green, some verdigrise: As for the lighter shades of these colours, you only add some yellow to either of the above two, more or less, according to the circumstances - To paint woods and trunks of trees, nothing more is required than umber. - To express sky-colours and clouds, you mix some blue ceruse with white lead; and, with these two colours only, you alter your blues to various degrees of shades, dimimishing or augmenting one of the two, according to the darkness or lightness of the skies which you want to express. For the distances, a mixture of yellow and white lead; &e. and so on for the other colours you may want.

3. You are to compose them yourself on the pallet with the pencil; and, to mix or unite them, use a little oil of nuts, which you take up with the point of the pallet-knife. Then with the pencil, you apply them on the wrong side of the print.

LIX. A varnish which suits all sorts of Prints, and may be applied on the right side of it. - It suits also pictures and painted wood. - It stands water, and makes the work appear as shining as glass.

Dilute one quarter of a pound of Venice turpentine, with a gill, or there abouts, of spirit of wine. If too thick, add a little more of this last; if not enough, a little of the former, so that you bring it to have no more thickness than the apparent one of milk. Lay one coat of this on the right side of the print, and, when dry, it will shiine like glass. If it be not to your liking, you need only lay another coat on it.

LX. To make appear in gold, the figures of a Print.

1. After having laid on both sides of the print, one coat of the varnish described in the above Art. lvii. In order to make it transparent, let it dry a little while. Then before it is quite so, lay some gold in leaves on the wrong side of the print, pressing gently on it with the cotton you hold in your hand. By these means all the parts, whereon you shall lay these gold leaves, will appear like true massive gold on the right side.

2. Now when this is all thoroughly dry, you have only to lay on the right side of it, one coat of the varnish described in the preceding Art. lix. It will then be as good as any crown-glass. You may also put a paste-board behind the print, to support it the better in its frame.

LXI. A curious secret to make a print imitate the painting on glass.

Chuse a crown-glass of the size of your print; and lay on it two coats of the following varnish.

1. Put on the fire, in a glased pipkin, and let boil for the space of one hour, Venice turpentine, four ounces; spirit of the same, and of wine, equal parts, one ounce and a half of each; mastich in tears, two drachms.

2. After it has boiled the prescribed time, let it cool, and then by the first coat on the glass; this being dry, lay another; and, as soon as this is nearly dry, then lay on it, as neatly as possible, the print, previously prepared as follows.

3. Have a glazed vessel so broad at bottom as to admit of the print flat with all ease in its full size. Let this vessel be also as wide at top as it is at bottom, that you may get the print in and out of it on its flat, without bending ii in the least. Pour aquafortis in this pan or vessel, enough to cover all the bottom then lay the engraved side of your print on that aquafortis. Take it out, and wipe the aquafortis off gently with soft rags, then steep it two or three times in three different clean fresh waters, and wipe it each time in the same manner.

4. This being done, lay the right side on the beforementioned glass, before the second coat of varnish be quite dry, and while it is still moist enough for the print to stick upon it uniformly, equally, and smoothly, without making any wrinkles or bladders. When it is perfectly dried in that situation, wet your finger in common water, and moistening the print on the back part in all the white places, which have received no impression from the engraving of the plate, rub it all off. By these means, there will remain nothing but fairly the printed parts. On them you may paint in oil with a brush, and the most bright and lively colours; and you will have pictures, on which neither dust nor any thing else will be able to cause any damage. To do this, there is no need of knowing, either how to paint or draw.

LXII. Another to the same purpose.

1. Heat before the fire, a crown glass of the size of the print, and then rub it over with Venice turpentine, which, on account of the heat of the glass, will spread the more easily.

2. Boil next your intended print, in spirit of wine, for about half a quarter of an hour; and then lay it by the right side on the glass.

3. This glass being cold, wet your finger, and moistening the back of the print, scrape, with your nail, the paper off the glass, so that there remain nothing but the strokes of the engraving.

4. Boil, in a matrass, for about a quarter of an hour, or rather more, and in balneo marinæ, one part of turpentine with four of spirit of wine. Then lay two coats of this composition on the back of the print, after you have scratched off all the paper, and allowing time between each coat to dry.

5. As soon as the second coat is dry you may lay on water-colours on the print, according to taste and judgement, and you will have a choice of beautiful pictures, agreeable to the beauty of the prints used.

LXIII. The method of chalking, for those who are not acquainted with drawing.

They who are not acquainted with the principles of drawing, may amuse themselves with chalking some beautiful prints, on white paper, where they shall have nothing more to do afterwards than shade, in the same manner as they see done in the original. When they shall have practised for a while in that way, they will soon become able to strike out themselves some good piece of design. And to obtain that point, the following method is recommended.

1. With a soft, and one of the best, black lead pencils, rub one side of a white meet of paper, cut to the size of the print, so that nothing of the paper can be seen, and only the black lead colour. - Lay this meet, on the clean side, upon the face of the print, that it way not soil it; and on this sheet, the black side of which now lies uppermost towards you, lay another sheet of clean paper, and six these three meets together by the four corners, and on the edges, with line minikin pins, so that the sheets may not vary one from another, which would quite confuse and mar the whole design.

2. Now take a blunted needle, or ivory point, and flip it, in pressing gently, all over the turns of the prints, going gradually and orderly for fear of forgetting some places, which may be prevented by laying a flat ruler across the print under your hands. When the whole is finished, unpin the papers; and, on the under part of that which lays at top, you will find all the outlines of the print most exactly drawn.

3. You may now, on these outlines, pass a stroke with India ink and abrum, or with ink and a pen; after which, with a crum of stale-bread, you rub off clean all the useless marks of the pencil, and leave none but those marked with ink. And to shade this design, you wash it with India ink, or colours, and a brush.

LXIV. How to prepare a transparent paper to chalk with.

In order to render themselves sooner, and more easily, masters of chalking neatly, and not to go out of the fine turns and outlines of a drawing, beginners should first know how to prepare a transparent paper, which, as it lets them see the minutest parts of the strokes as through a glass, gives them of course an opportunity of acquiring, by practice, a correctness, precision, and truth, in the expression of all the turns of a piece of drawing, be it whatever it will. This preparation then is as follows.

1. Have, one or several, sheets of fine and very thin paper, and rub them over with oil, or spirit, of turpentine, mixed in double the quantity of oil of nuts. To cause the paper to imbibe that mixture, deep a sponge or feather in it, which pass on both sides of the paper, and then let it dry.

2. When you want to use it, lay it on a print. Then, with a brush, a pencil, or a pen, pass over all the strokes, lines, and turns, of the design laid under. You may even thus learn to shade with neatness, if you wash that same design, while fixed on the original print, with India ink.

Thus practising often, and for a certain while, you may learn to draw very neatly, and even with boldness, provided you apply with attention, and are blessed with some share of memory. This method will certainly prove very agreeable, useful, and entertaining, for those who have not the patience to learn by the common method, which seems too tedious to some, and generally disgusts beginners.

LXV. Another, and more speedy method of making a transparent paper, to be used instantly.

The above receipt for making transparent paper for drawing being attended with some difficulty, viz. the length of time which it takes to dry, we thought it would not be unacceptable to the public to be apprised of another, more speedy, and no way inferior to the other, by means of which, in a hurry, it may be made and used directly, as in a case, for example, where any one, being glad of copying a design, had not at hand varnished, or transparent, paper.

With a sponge, rag, feather, or any thing, spread lintseed oil on both sides of any common thin sheet of paper; then, as soon as done, wipe it with a handful of the soft rags which are scraped off from leather at the tanner's. The paper is instantly dry and fit for immediate use.

Note. Nothing else can supply the tanner's leather tags, as nothing could soak the superfluous oil from the paper so fast, and so thoroughly. It is that which dries it so quick, and makes it fit for instant use.

LXVI. A varnish to render transparent the impression of a print which has been glued on glass and the paper scratched off as mentioned in Art. lxi. and lxii.

Take turpentine, and a very little oil of the same. Dilute all well together, and lay one coat of it on the strokes of engraving, which are left fixed on the glass.

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