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What Pigments did J.M.W. Turner Use?

According to Winsor & Newton, J.M.W. Turner's watercolor pigments included "Gamboge, Quercitron Yellow, Vermilion, various iron oxides including Ochres, Umbers and Siennas, Indian Yellow, "Green Lake", Prussian Blue, Indigo, Cobalt Blue, Blue Verditer, Rose Madder, other red lake pigments possibly Carmine, Bone Black, and Mercuric Iodide (genuine scarlet). He used water colours in a block form and there is evidence he made some, if not all, himself."

Paint box of Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 – 1851)

Turner, Dolbadarn Castle
In oil, he used "Genuine Ultramarine (Lapis Lazuli), White Lead and a very toxic yellow, Orpiment, also known as Kings Yellow or chemically, arsenic sulphide. By the early nineteenth century, he had replaced it with Chrome Yellow. There is evidence in the 1800 painting ‘Dolbadarn Castle’ that he used the lead pigment Naples Yellow."

"He also used unspecified lake pigments made by fixing a dye on a base compound such as alumina which turned a dye into a pigment. This gave the pigments great transparency in oil but less so in water. The choice of dye and base influenced the lightfastness. Turner used at least one red lake, a green and a geranium shade and all were prone to fading. Some early versions of Rose Madder had poor lightfastness but the process developed by the outstanding English colour-maker, George Field was and still is superior. This process is still followed by Winsor & Newton today."

How much did the pigments overlap between his watercolor and oil paintings? Winsor & Newton says "His love of both oil and water colour meant he experimented with using the same pigment for his oil paintings as he did in his water colours. He would have discovered that Gamboge does not work in oil nor White Lead (Flake White) in water."

This post first appeared on Gurney Journey, please read the originial post: here

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What Pigments did J.M.W. Turner Use?


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