Liquid Sepia Seppia Or Animal Aethiops Is Named After The Sepia

or cuttle-fish, also called the ink-fish, from its affording a dark

liquid, which was used as an ink and pigment by the ancients. All the

species of cuttle-fish are provided with a dark-coloured fluid,

sometimes quite black, which they emit to obscure the water, when it is

wanted to favour their escape from danger, or, by concealing their

approach, to enable them with greater facility to seize their prey. The

liquid consists of a mass of extremely minute carbonaceous particles,

intermixed with an animal gelatine or glue, and is capable of being so

widely spread, than an ounce of it will suffice to darken several

thousand ounces of water. From this liquid, brought chiefly from the

Adriatic, but likewise obtainable from our own coasts, is derived the

pigment sepia, as well as, partially, the Indian ink of the Chinese.

Sepia is a powerful dusky brown, of a fine texture, transparent, works

admirably in water, combines cordially with other pigments, and is very

permanent. It is much used as a water-colour, and for making drawings in

the manner of bistre and Indian ink; but is not employed in oil, as it

dries therein very reluctantly. Extremely clear in its pale tints, and

perhaps the best washing colour known, sepia must be used with caution,

or otherwise heaviness will be engendered in the shades, so strong is

its colouring property. Mixed with indigo, or, preferably, Prussian blue

and black, it is eligible for distant trees, for a general shadow tint

in light backgrounds, and for the shade of white linen or white

draperies. With madder red it forms a fine hue, somewhat resembling

brown madder, and with crimson lake and indigo gives an artistically

excellent black. Sometimes alone and sometimes in combination with lamp

black, or madder red and Prussian blue saddened by the black, it will be

found useful in dark foreground boats, rocks, near buoys, sea-weed, &c.

Compounded with aureolin, sepia yields a series of beautiful and durable

neutral greens for landscape; and mixed with Prussian blue, affords low

olive greens, which may be deepened into very cool dark greens by the

addition of black. For hills and mountains in mid-distance, sepia

combined with cobalt and brown madder is of service; or, for the dark

markings and divisions of stones in brooks and running streams, the same

compound without the cobalt. Mixed with purple madder, it furnishes a

fine tint for the stems and branches of trees; and with French blue and

madder red gives a really good black. Compounds of sepia and yellow

ochre, gamboge, raw Sienna, or cobalt and aureolin, are severally

useful. A rich and strong brown is formed by the admixture of madder

red, burnt Sienna, and sepia; a tint which may be modified by omitting

the sepia or the Sienna, or reducing the proportions of either. For

Dutch craft, this tint and its variations are of great value. A wash of

sepia over green very agreeably subdues the force of the colour.


is the natural sepia warmed by mixture with other browns of a red hue,

and is intended for drawings where it would be difficult to keep the

whole work of the same tint, unless the compound were made in the cake

of colour.


is a preparation similar to the preceding, but with a yellow instead of

a red cast.


This pigment, hardly less celebrated than the great painter whose name

it bears, is a species of peat or bog-earth of a fine, deep,

semi-transparent brown colour. The pigment so much esteemed and used by

Vandyke is said to have been brought from Cassel; an assertion which

seems to be justified by a comparison of Cassel earth with the browns of

his pictures. Gilpin in his Essays on Picturesque Beauty, remarks that

"In the tribe of browns--in oil-painting, one of the finest earths is

known, at the colour shops, by the name of Castle-earth, or Vandyke's

brown." The Vandyke brown of the present day is a bituminous ochre,

purified by grinding and washing over. Apt to vary in hue, it is durable

both in water and oil, but, like all bituminous earths, dries tardily as

a rule in the latter vehicle. Clear in its pale tints, deep and glowing

in shadows, in water it has sometimes the bad property of working up:

for this reason, where it is necessary to lay on a great body of it,

the moist tube colour should be preferred to the cake. With madder red,

the brown gives a fine tint, most useful as a warm shadow colour; and

with Prussian blue, clear, very sober neutral greens for middle

distances. In banks and roads, Vandyke brown is the general colour for

dragging over the surface, to give roughness of texture: compounded with

yellow ochre, it affords a good ground tint, and with purple madder a

rich shadow colour. In sunrise and sunset clouds, a mixture of the brown

with cobalt yields a cold neutral green, adapted for those clouds at the

greatest distance from the sun. For foliage tints, aureolin, French

blue, and Vandyke brown, will be found of service; or as a glaze over

such tints, the yellow and the brown. With raw Sienna, brown madder,

Payne's gray, gamboge, and Roman ochre, this brown is useful. In a

water-colour winter scene, when the trees are denuded of foliage, the

net work of the small branches at the tops of them may be prettily given

with cobalt and Vandyke brown, used rather dry, and applied with a brush

having its hairs spread out either by the fingers or by drawing them

through a fine-tooth comb before working. Grass is likewise represented

readily by this means, and so are small trees on the summit of a cliff

or in like positions.

The Campania Brown of the old Italian painters was a similar earth.


a pigment peculiar to oil painting, is a native ferruginous earth. A

citrine brown of great service in tender drab greens, it forms with

terre verte and the madder lakes rich autumnal tints of much beauty and



Liquid Indian Ink Is A Solution For Architects Surveyors &c Litharge Is Merely Fused Massicot Old Writers Speak Of Litharge Of facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail