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of their colours they excel us; but whether this arises from the materials they use, the superiority of their varnish, or their method of burning them, I cannot decide.
SOPHIA. The colours applied to porcelain are the same as those used in enamel painting; and consist of metallic calces, which are the residue of metals, after calcination by fire, or solution by chemical processes. With design to form colours for painting on China or enamel, they bruise these calces, and incorporate them with a very fusible glass. Crocus of iron affords a red colour. Cassius's precipitate of gold makes the purple and violet; copper calcined by acids, and precipitated by an alkali, gives a fine green; zaffre makes the blue; earths slightly ferruginous produce a yellow; and lastly, brown and black colours are effected by calcined iron, mixed with a deep blue zaffre. These colours are ground with gum-water, or oil of spike, to render them fit for use. I am indebted to my mother for all that I have related concerning the colours, and I hope I have repeated it without mistake. A powder of calx of gold
is applied, as in the coloured enamels, for the gilding. The painted and gilded porcelains are exposed to a fire capable of fusing the glass, with which the metallic colours are mixed. By this means they adhere, and acquire a gloss equal to that of the glazing of the China. The gold receives additional brightness from burnishing it with a blood
HENRY. blood-stone is.
Pray, sister, explain what a
SOPHIA. It is a ruddy mineral substance, brought from Egypt and Ethiopia, and named from its resemblance to dry, curdled blood.
AUGUSTA. I have often heard that poor women suffer great hardships from want of employment, especially those who have been decently brought up. Might not painting on china be suitable work for them, as it depends more upon taste than strength.
MRS. HARCOURT. Were there more opportunities of obtaining a creditable subsistence, it would preserve many unhappy females in the path of honour and virtue, who now wander, forlorn and abandoned, in the ways I.
of vice. Too many of those occupations that are adapted to the abilities of women, are engaged by men, whose talents and bodily strength might be more properly exerted in laborious callings.
MR. HARCOURT. You are pronouncing a satire upon your sex. Whilst ladies of fashion patronise men-milliners, stay-makers, mantuamakers, hair-dressers, and haberdashers, without manifesting the smallest compassion or sympathy for their forlorn and destitute sisters, it cannot be matter of astonishment, that the industrious female vainly seeks employment, and is deprived of those resources to which she has a natural claim.
CHARLES. A lady of rank and influence, who would counteract this pernicious mode, by openly encouraging women, in the different branches of trade suitable to their powers, would deserve the imitation of her countrywomen, and the honourable appellation of a true patriot.
CECILIA. When I grow up, I will always employ women to make every article of my dress.
AUGUSTA. And I will frequent those shops only where the customers are served by women.
MR. HARCOURT. This conduct will do honour to your understandings as well as to your hearts. But we have wandered far from the subject in hand. Sophia, resume your account.
SOPHIA. The last operation before the porcelain is carried to the oven, is the oiling or varnishing. According to the quality of the work, the varnish is laid on more or less thick, and seldomer or oftener repeated. Much art is required in putting it on. All parts of the vessel should be equally covered, and no spot thicker than the rest, which would destroy the smoothness and polish of the surface. Two kinds of ovens are used in baking china; large ones for works that are baked only once, and smaller ones for those that require a double baking. The ovens are composed of a mixture of three different sorts of earth. At the top of the dome, which is in the form of a tunnel, is a large aperture, to give vent to the flames and smoke, mounting
continually, as soon as the oven is once lighted. The pieces of porcelain that are baked in the large ovens, are put into cases or coffins, as they are called, made of the same materials as the ovens, to prevent any diminution of lustre, from the too violent effect of a naked fire. Great caution is necessary in placing the pieces of porcelain in the smaller ovens, no cases being used. They are piled up pyramidically, so that no part of that which is painted in one, touches the paint in another, lest the colours should run, and destroy the beauty of the whole.
MR. HARCOURT. The workhouses are, properly, vast yards, walled round, with sheds and conveniences for the defence of the workmen against the weather; as well as other buildings, adapted to provide them with dwellings. This manufacture, like several others that have passed under our observation, employs a prodigious number of hands. Almost every piece is handled by twenty workmen, before it is ready for the painter, and by more than sixty before it attains perfection. The painting work is distributed amongst a