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Old 01-20-2003, 09:50 AM   #1
Margaret Port Margaret Port is offline
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Cairns, Australia
Posts: 98
Very interesting book on colour

I was recently loaned a copy of a book called "Colour - Travels through the Paintbox" by Victoria Finlay, published by Hodder & Stoughton, Euston Road, London 2002.

She is a young British girl based in Hong Kong who has travelled widely to trace the origins and history of pigments and paints worldwide. From soil, to beetle blood, to cows urine, it is all described. I don't even want to think where some of my colours might have come from. It is really interesting.

One thing she mentioned is megilp. A mix of mastic and linseed oil. Mastic is the sap from a tree which hardens to a golden colour in air. It was used as a chewing gum. It was used to stick broken pottery together, and when dissolved in turpentine it makes a varnish.

Apparently it does not mix with oil. So when in 1789, Joshua Reynolds painted a portrait in a hurry he used one coat of megilp instead of 20 glaze layers. There is a colour plate of the darkened painting, "A Girl with a Baby" as it is now, according to the experts a "ruinous mess" and according to the admirers the precurser to the impressionists.

I am wondering whether the megilp that is available today is the same stuff?

I hope you can find this book to read for yourselves.
Margaret Port
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