Blue bice is the name given to a pale blue artificial basic copper carbonate with approximately the same chemical composition as azurite. Blue bice was used in watercolors and distemper during the 17th and 18th centuries. Our blue bice is made according to an English recipe of the 18th century.
Origin and History
||English: verditer; blue ashes, cendres blue, Sanders blue; mountain blue, copper blue, lime blue
French: cendres bleu; bleu de montagne; bleu d'Allemagne
German: Verditer; Aschblau; Bergblau; Kalkblau
Italian: ceneri blu di pasta, azzurro della cenere; azzurro della magna
Portuguese: azul da cinza; azul da montanha
Spanish: azul de la ceniza; azul de la montaña
Latin: lapis armenius; azurium citramarinum
Prior to the 17th century, the name bice was used to designate the natural mineral azurite. In the 18th century and afterwards, bice was understood to mean a pale blue pigment and finely ground smalt and copper carbonates were sold under that name. It also found use in watercolor and distemper paints in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Numerous early recipes for the preparation of basic copper carbonate are known; the best types appear to have been prepared at relatively low temperatures with a copper salt. This sky blue, slightly more greenish than natural azurite, lends itself well to consistent applications of color. Microscopically, blue bice appears as tiny, rounded, fibrous aggregates, even in size and blue by transmitted light. It is similar in color to finely ground azurite.
Permanence and Compatibility
Blue bice is stable in lime and is well suited for tempera and watercolor, but is liable to darken or become greenish in oil.
Oil Absorption and Grinding
Blue bice absorbs a medium amount of oil (23 g oil per 100 g of pigment).
Blue bice contains copper, which can be toxic if inhaled or ingested. Care should be used in handling the dry powder pigment to avoid inhaling the dust.
Pigment: Blue Bice
||Pigment Blue 30 (77420)
||Basic Copper Carbonate
|ASTM Lightfastness Rating
||α=1.73, β=1.758, γ=1.838
||23 g oil/100 g pigment