PAINTED HELMETS: questions

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Bartolo
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PAINTED HELMETS: questions

Postby Bartolo » Wed May 23, 2007 6:41 am

Hi there. I'm actually considering painted helmets, above all concerning the making of pigments and the techniques used on rough metal surfaces. I particularly refer to the wonderful example of German sallet displayed at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds , that was left rude black from the forge and all covered with coloured geometrical patterns. Here are two images of it:


http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/gallery2/ ... emId=13295

http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/gallery2/ ... emId=13376


The point is: how could they manage to fix colours on metal like that? What is the secret component who made it possible?

I would be eternally grateful to you if ever you could refer to specific studies or publications in general that can answer the questions above.
Any response will be held in great esteem, as I haven't gather that much so far... Thank you in advance for your patience!

Kind Regards,
DR. ANDREA CARLONI



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Neibelungen
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Postby Neibelungen » Wed May 23, 2007 7:59 pm

Your basic starting point would be Cennino Cennini. He gives a pretty basic guide to pigments and paints. Dover did a reasonable copy of a 30's translation.

Basically all paints are going to be a fine ground pigment in a glue or drying oil binder. There's a stickied thread in the 1100-1500 section on various recipies for paints, sizes and dyes.

For practicality, the same type of approach used in gilding would be exactly the same.

There aren't any secret components, just pigment, oil or varnish and a clean surface to begin with.



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Postby Bartolo » Wed May 23, 2007 10:49 pm

Thank you for answering.
I know "The book of art" by Cennino Cennini and a few other Italian manuscripts where you can find uselful infos about pigments. Anyway, you can't find anything directly related to metal paiting in there.

Out of any misunderstanding: referring to our own experiments made, nowadays, by mixing paints with glue (for example) is plainly sensible but what I'm looking for are direct bibliographic sources, able to give some indication of PROVEN original techniques applied in painting metals hopefully during the Middle Ages or Renaissance also.

Granted that such sources really exist, of course. :) Shouldn't they, we can devote ourselves to experiments of all sorts. You know, I just try my best to stay stick to the sources, as far as I can :wink:



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Neibelungen
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Postby Neibelungen » Thu May 24, 2007 12:12 am

Cennini makes a lot of oblique reference to painting on iron in the section talking about oil based paints. The whole of section 4 specifically mentions about the use of paint on Iron.

Chapter LXXXVIIII
Before I go any farther, I want to teach you to work with oil on wall or panel, as the Germans are much given to do; and likewise on iron and on stone.


My reading of this is that it seems to be boiled linseed oil paints on the main, though his wording makes it difficult to read at times.

I've a 1830's book on geometry and housebuilding and metal paints are still identical.



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Postby Neibelungen » Thu May 24, 2007 12:52 am

Other possible reference sources

Alberti, L B, On Painting 1435 (Penguin Classics)
Eastlake, Sir C L, Materials For A History Of Oil Painting, 1847 (Dover)
Merrifield, Mrs. M P, Medieval And Renaissance Treatises On The Arts Of Painting 1849 (Dover)
Muther, R, The History Of Painting From The Fourth Century To The Early Nineteenth Century, 1907 (Putnam)
Taubs, F, A Guide To Traditional And Modern Painting Methods, 1963 (Thames & Hudson)

As far as I can tell, oil based paints were used in northern europe from about 1420 onwards with tempera based paints before that.

Theophilus has some mention of them and various laquers, which probably would have been the final finish to protect them.

I don't think there are many explicite mentions of painting on metal, but given the correct materials for paints at any date, they would have used those as that's all they had available. Glaire (egg white sizeing) is a pretty durable finish, and with all metal, it's not usually the paint that causes the problem but condition of the metal it's adhereing to.



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Bartolo
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Postby Bartolo » Thu May 24, 2007 7:08 am

Neibelungen wrote:....and with all metal, it's not usually the paint that causes the problem but condition of the metal it's adhereing to.


You've been great, man! In my group of search (we are all amateurs anyway) someone must have missed the reference to metal in Cennini.
Your indications are really clears and will certainly be held in high esteem.

About my quoting of your speech: given that the base of the painting is rough metal as come out of a forge (= not mirror-polished), just like the one of the sallet I linked, considering the look of the paints for the geometrical patterns on it, what do you think they could have used? Would oil paints as ground and glaire as fixing be a possible solution to make the colours grip and, above all, resist to bad weather conditions?
This last issue is very important: you know, an helmet was worn under any kind of weather, being it sunny, rainy, damp or even snowy.
Thank you in advance again for your precious help :wink:



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Postby Lord High Everything Esle » Thu May 24, 2007 8:54 am

How can we visit?

www.villaggiomedievale.it


Will/Dave, the Jolly Box Man and Barber Surgeon

"Physicians of all men are most happy; what good success soever they have, the world proclaimeth, and what faults they commit the earth coverest." Frances Quarles (1592-1644) Nicocles

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Postby Bartolo » Thu May 24, 2007 12:44 pm

Lord High Everything Esle wrote:How can we visit?

www.villaggiomedievale.it


sorry, it's actually www.villaggiomedievale.com (only in Italian version...I'm sorry...)

GROSS MISTAKE OF MINE :oops:



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Lord High Everything Esle
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Postby Lord High Everything Esle » Thu May 24, 2007 12:50 pm

Do tell us more about it.

We will be holidaying in Italy next year and might like to visit at the end of March.

However our Italian is so poor......

Directions and opening times would be a help/


Will/Dave, the Jolly Box Man and Barber Surgeon



"Physicians of all men are most happy; what good success soever they have, the world proclaimeth, and what faults they commit the earth coverest." Frances Quarles (1592-1644) Nicocles

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Bartolo
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Postby Bartolo » Sun May 27, 2007 10:40 pm

Lord High Everything Esle wrote:Do tell us more about it.

We will be holidaying in Italy next year and might like to visit at the end of March.

However our Italian is so poor......

Directions and opening times would be a help/


Well...sorry, you need help about what? I can't undesrtand which directions and opening times you're referring to... :?:



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Postby Sophia » Mon May 28, 2007 10:34 am

LHEE - just had a quick scan of website in question and I think it is an online resource rather than a specific place.

Sophia :D


aka Thomasin Chedzoy, Tailor at Kentwell Hall

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Bartolo
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Postby Bartolo » Mon May 28, 2007 6:45 pm

Sophia wrote:LHEE - just had a quick scan of website in question and I think it is an online resource rather than a specific place.

Sophia :D


Infact it is :D It's actually an active website, featuring a forum similar to this one, concerning all the main medieval issues, from the fall of Roman Empire to early Renaissance: general history, cookery, ancient calligraphy and illumination, art and architecture, a very large section about re-enacting and much more than that.
As I told you, unfortunately for you all it's all written in Italian :cry: But nobody's perfect, huh :?
Ok, OT is over...




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