Viewing Topic "Question on 18th century watercolors"
Given what George has said, why don't you look for some stoneware for baking that has small cookie indents with a design? If it hasn't been seasoned, apply some flaxseed oil and bake in the oven at the highest temp. for an hour, then allow to cool in the oven over night, repeat for 3-4 days and your stoneware will be seasoned into a relatively "non-stick" surface. Then you can pour your watercolor concoction in and once dry, pop them out and see if you have a design on your pans. If they don't pop out, you can soak the pan in water and it should wash clean.
If that doesn't work, you can make some palette pans by pressing into FIMO clay and baking it, then fill the wells with your watercolor mix. You can make them with small, shallow enough indentations that you can even allow the children to take their paints with them without losing too much paint.
Ackermann is a good source and whereas the results are liquid they were dried into pastes on heated stone tables. The thick pastes were cut much like you cut cookie dough into shapes.
I am a reenactor doing research for a living history presentation in the 1760-1815 time period. My goal is to introduce the public to 18th century art by sitting them down at my easel and giving “art lessons” using period materials. I am focusing on watercolors, since they dry quickly and will wash out of clothing. I am especially taken with Reeves’ hard watercolor cakes with the embossed crests, but they are no longer manufactured. The old cakes often contain lead, arsenic and other toxic ingredients; I can’t put those in the hands of children! Therefore, I am trying to learn how the hard cakes were made so I can recreate a similar palette using nontoxic materials.
I know Reeves paints included pigment, gum Arabic, and honey, but not what proportions. I was able to find one recipe, published by the London colourman Ackermann in 1801, but I think the results are liquid. Can you recommend any other period sources that give detailed instructions? Or do you know of someone who has already recreated them who can offer me advice?
Thank you for your time!