Category Archive: pigments

Researching precious manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, Oxford

For the past six months I have been engaged in a Fellowship at the Bodleian Library’s Centre for the Study of the Book, University of Oxford. I have been researching a stunning group… Continue reading

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The Book of Gold – an e-book available for sale

Over the years I have run a lot  of professional development workshops with artists, craftspeople, conservators and academics who wanted to learn the secrets of making finely ground gold pigments, such as was… Continue reading

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Farewell to Woburn Walk: Open Studio Sale Weekend

To all friends old and new, and the wonderful people who have enjoyed this vibrant space  with me over the years – It’s time to say farewell to my beautiful Bloomsbury studio in… Continue reading

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Gold and Precious Pigments: Two-day Courses in June 2016

Two-Day Courses in June 2016 These specialist practical courses on the preparation of water-based paints made of 24 carat gold, silver and precious minerals are of interest to artists, craftspeople, conservators, restorers, academics,… Continue reading

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Manuscript Illumination: learning from a 15th Century Shirazi master

ne of In a recent post I have guest-authored for the British Library Asian and African Studies Blog I was invited to write about some of the library’s manuscripts that I have found… Continue reading

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Preparing Shell Gold

Originally posted on The Book & Paper Gathering:
A guest post by Anita Chowdry My last few workshops on shell gold have been particularly rewarding as my participants have all been up for…

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British Library Seminar with Barbara Brend

Painting and Illumination in Persian and Mughal Books: An exclusive look at Manuscripts in the British Library with Dr Barbara Brend 4 June 2015, 10.00 am – 5.30 pm Cost: £135    Sold Out… Continue reading

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How to paint with 24 carat shell gold

As I periodically offer practical courses on how to make 24 carat “shell gold” pigment, I feel it might be useful to cover some of the applications of this marvellous pigment. The next… Continue reading

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Pliny the Elder on metals, and a warning from the first century

My abiding interest in pigments and their sources has always been a catalyst for a much wider scope of interest, and in the raft of very human impulses that have shaped the history… Continue reading

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A Journey with Lapis Lazuli Pigment

Just look at that – a beautiful precious Blue, its subtle variety of shades and striations, shot through with streaks of calcite and glittering iron pyrites, describing some imaginary landscape. It is the… Continue reading

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Precious Pigments and Gold with staff from the Bodleian Library

I had the privilege of hosting at my studio a small group of staff who take care of precious historical manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. They came to examine and… Continue reading

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Invitation to subscribe to my mailing list

This is an invitation to all my lovely online friends, followers, fellow-artists, brilliant people and supporters to subscribe to my new mailing list at “MailChimp”. MailChimp is a bona fide e-mail marketing company… Continue reading

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More than the Colour Red at Visions of Enchantment, Cambridge University

On the 17th March I gave a paper called More than the Colour Red: The unspoken symbolism of cinnabar pigment in Indian painting at a fascinating conference hosted at the University of Cambridge,… Continue reading

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Strange Creatures in the Margins

As I briefly mentioned the art of marginal design as one of the arts of Islamic manuscript production in my previous post, I thought I would share a few details from a very… Continue reading

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Working with a Calligrapher in Cairo

Examining and re-creating an historical manuscript page is one of the best ways to understand the processes that went into its making, and one that I have employed several times in the course… Continue reading

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Preserving treasures in Cairo’s National Library and Archives

Update 23 Feb 2014: Thankfully the conservation staff at the National Library and Archives and the team at Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation have managed to save all the manuscripts that were on display, though… Continue reading

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Elephants in the British Library

A group of second year students on the M.A. Art & Science course at Central Saint Martins, including myself, plus course director Nathan Cohen and our tutor Eleanor Crook, have mounted a group… Continue reading

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Making simple grounds for silverpoint drawing

Silverpoint drawing requires a specially prepared ground because the silverpoint will not make a mark on ordinary paper. Preparing the ground can be a complicated business, and I shall be adding some posts… Continue reading

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Getting started with Silverpoint Drawing

This  silverpoint drawing  is by Leonardo da Vinci,  in the British Museum collection. It is called ‘Bust of a warrior in profile’ , dated 1475-80, © The Trustees of the British Museum. It… Continue reading

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The Colour Red

My Name is Red is a novel by the celebrated Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk. It is a memorable read – a beautifully constructed ‘whodunnit’ set in the visionary world of the miniature painters… Continue reading

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A Mughal Masterpiece at The British Museum

This painting is called “The assembled animals complain to the raven of their mistreatment at the hands of man” British Museum catalogue number 1920.0917.05  , an illustration to one of the animal fables… Continue reading

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Indigo dyed paper

As an experiment, I included dyeing paper with indigo as one of the  activities in the Persian and Indian manuscript painting workshop this month. With only two (highly sophisticated) people, it seemed a… Continue reading

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Workshop – Pigments for Manuscript painting

Barbara Brend’s seminar on painting and illumination in Persian and Indian books on 1 November 2011 was followed by workshops about pigments and techniques at my studio. The picture above shows some of… Continue reading

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The Alchemy of Pure Gold Pigment

I spent the weekend in my Woburn Walk studio making another batch of 24 carat gold pigment. It was used historically by painters and illuminators both in the Western world and in the… Continue reading

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Pigment hunting on Hampstead Heath

How about spending the first day of May on Hampstead Heath hunting for pigment? There is something rather primeaval about that – the sort of activity some neolithic cave painter might have engaged… Continue reading

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