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Principle Under The Name Of Wongshy And Consisting Of The

seed-capsule of a species of gentian. The aqueous extract, freed from
the pectin which it contains, yields with baryta- and lime-water yellow
precipitates, from which acids separate the colouring matter of a
vermilion hue. When thus prepared it is insoluble in water, and would so
far be adapted for a pigment. The red has not, however, been employed as
such, and we are unacquainted with its habitudes.

* * * * *

The concluding remarks appended to the chapter on yellow apply equally
to red, and indeed to all other colours. It is not assumed that the list
is exhausted: there are other reds, but they are, like some we have
mentioned, ineligible as pigments, either by reason of their fugacity,
their costliness, the difficulty of producing them on a scale, or the
sources whence they are derived being commercially unavailable. While
endeavouring throughout the work to render complete the collection of
pigments actually in use, it is our object to give a selection only of
numbered italicised colours; ample enough, however, to include those
which have become obsolete or nearly so, and full enough to afford some
insight into our resources. The nearer we approach perfection, the more
eager we are to arrive at it: the path before us, therefore, cannot fail
to be of interest.

Looking back, and noting those pigments commonly employed, we find that
the reds like the yellows are divisible into three classes--the good,
bad, and indifferent; or the permanent, the semi-stable, and the

Among permanent reds, rank cadmium red, madder reds, Mars red, the
ochres, and vermilions.

In the second or semi-stable class, must be placed cochineal lakes,
Indian lake, and red chrome.

To the third division, or the fugitive, belong dragon's blood, pure
scarlet, red lead, and the coal-tar reds.

With regard to the foregoing classification, it must be borne in mind
that the properties and effects of pigments are much influenced by
adventitious circumstances. Sometimes pigments are varied or altogether
changed by the grounds on which they are employed, the vehicles in which
they are used, the siccatives and colours with which they are mixed, and
the varnishes by which they are covered. And as there is no exact and
constant agreement in different specimens of like pigments, so there is
no exact and constant result in their use. Artists vary as much as the
pigments they employ: some resemble the old masters in the delicacy with
which they treat their colours, the cleanliness with which they surround
them, and the care with which they compound them: in the hands of such
artists pigments have every chance. Some, however, are characterized by
a careless manipulation, a dirty mode of working, an utter disregard for
all rules of admixture: with such painters the best colours may be
ruined. And here, indeed, it may be asked, whether these latter are not
more properly termed painters than artists, chiefly belonging as they do
to that slap-dash school which manufactures pictures simply to sell
them. Duly subordinated, the commercial side of art has a value which it
were affectation to ignore; but to paint merely for the present,
heedless of the future, is to sink art to the level of a trade, not the
most honest. For it is the purchaser who suffers from the want of
thought bestowed on the materials, the sloppy manipulation, the careless
compounding; sins of omission and commission that cause him, on finding
his picture becoming chaos, to join the detractors of modern pigments.
In classifying colours therefore, those also should be classified who
use them:--into artists, whose love for art would render it more lasting

Next: Than Themselves; And Into Painters Whose Motto Is Vita Brevis Est Ars

Previous: Wongshy Red

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