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LIBRARY OF

WELLES LEY COLLEGE




FROM THE FUND OF
EBEN NORTON HORSFORD



THE CONNOISSEUR'S LIBRARY

GENERAL EDITOR: CYRIL DAVENPORT



EUROPEAN ENAMELS




THE DAUGHTERS OK MUSIC

ENAMELLED SCREEN, HV ALEXANDEK FISHEU, WITH INSCRIPTION " IN I'RAISE OF WOM ANHOOU '



EUROPEAN
ENAMELS



BY



HENRY H. CUNYNGHAME, C.B.




NEW YORK: G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

LONDON: METHUEN & CO.

1906



V

First published in igo6

A-n i7



|VJ>



y






p



CONTENTS



PAGE



List of Illustrations, , . . . xi

Preface, xv

Chapter I. Introduction. Meaning and
use of the word ''enamel." Nature of
the materials used : namely, flint glass,
powdered, and fused upon gold, silver, or
copper, and tinted with the oxides of
iron, copper, cobalt, chromium, and other
metals.

Different methods of working ; viz. by-
putting the enamels in cloisons, or else
into cavities scooped out of plates of
copper, or else on the surfaces of low
chiselled reliefs ; or, again, using it as a
sort of paint, laid on in layers without
metallic boundaries. A short descrip-
tion of these methods. Some remarks
upon the principles of art applicable to
enamels, i



CONTENTS



PAGE



Chapter II. Enamelling in Ancient Times.
Among the scanty remains of ancient
enamels may be found articles of jewellery,
chiefly from Egypt, Greece, and a few
from other places. Some of these are
precious stones fastened into cloisons,
others are true enamels, ... 26



Chapter III. Early Gaulish Enamelling
in Europe after the Christian Era.
Mysterious appearance over Europe of a
rough but artistic method of enamelling
on baser metals, found in most of the
countries subject to the Roman Empire.
Speculations as to the origin and mode
of executing this work, .... 32



Chapter IV. Byzantine Enamels (cloisonne).
Characteristics of Byzantine art derived
from Rome and Greece, but with a strong
infusion of Persian and other Oriental
influence. Iconoclasm in Byzantium.
Symbolic and mystic character of Byzan-
tine art, giving rise to strict conven-
tionalism in the representation of sacred
subjects. The Pala d'Oro at Venice. The
Reliquary at Limburg. Other examples
of Byzantine work. Origin of the term
" enamel," 37



VI



CONTENTS



PAGE



Chapter V. Medieval Enamels. The
period of Charlemagne, the work of
which was no doubt encouraged by that
monarch, and stimulated by the revival of
Art and Learning which then took place.
This work is undoubtedly based upon
Byzantine art. It was mostly cloisonne,
and in some cases German copies exist
of Byzantine originals which have also
been preserved. Religious character of
these enamels ; their effect in educating
those who could not read. Description
of the Paliotto at Milan. The reliquary
of King Pepin at Conques. The jewel
of Alfred ? Other examples of Carlo-
vingian work. Description of enamelling
by the monk Theophilus. Gradual change
of the Carlovingian style and birth of
Gothic art. Attempts to produce the
effect of cloisonne enamels on a larger
scale and with cheaper materials. Evolu-
tion of Champleve. The two great
schools of Champleve work : (a) the
Rhenish Provinces, {b) Limoges. De-
scription of a number of shrines in the
Rhenish Provinces. Remarks on the
shape of reliquaries, on crucifixes, and
the various methods of representing our
Lord. Limoges enamels. General simi-
larity of Limoges Champleve to German
contemporaneous work. Marks of differ-
ence between the two. Description of
various works by Limousin artists. De-
cline of Champleve, .... 54

vii



CONTENTS

Chapter VL Enamelled Bas- Relief.
Method of covering low metal bas-reliefs
with coatings of coloured enamels. Sup-
posed Italian origin of this work. De-
scription of it by Benvenuto Cellini, . 89



Chapter VII. Painted Enamels. Decay
of mediaeval art. Its causes. The Re-
naissance. Characteristics of the Renais-
sance. Its introduction into France by
Francis I. The school of Fontainebleau.
Gradual decline of Franco-Netherlandish
art and its replacement by an art based
on Italian Renaissance. Effect of this
on the Limoges enamellers. Work of
Nardon Penicaud, Jean Penicaud, and
their successors. Leonard Limousin and
his successors. Courtys, the Courts,
Laudin. Decay of the art, . . .103

Chapter VIII. The Miniaturists. The
style originated with Leonard Limousin,
but the real founder of it was Petitot.
Petitot's life. His visits to Italy and to
England, where he was influenced by
Van Dyck. Petitot and his friend, Bordier
married, in 1651, two sisters. They were
persecuted as Protestants, and escaped
to Geneva. At Windsor are 250 portraits
executed in enamel by Petitot. Petitot's
successors. The schools of Geneva and
Dresden, . . . . . -139

viii



PAGE



CONTEXTS

Chapter IX. Landscapes on Snuff-boxes
AND Fancy Ware. The Genevan, Dres-
den, and English schools. Battersea
enamels. Unfitness of the material for
enamelling. Decline and degradation of
the art. English enamelled candlesticks, 152

Chapter X. Enamelled Jewellery. Not
included in this work. A few remarks
upon jeweller}' in general. The modem
French school, . . . . 163

Chapter XL Modern Enamellers.

Alexander Fisher, H. Wilson, Mr. and
Mrs. Nelson Dawson, Mrs. Traquair, The
Parisian Jewellers, C. R. Ashbee's Art
School, Classes in London and elsewhere, 167

Index, 177



IX



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Enamelled Screen, "The Daughters of Music," with in-
scription, " In Praise of Womanhood." By Alexander

Fisher Frontispiece

By kind permission of the artist and H. Yates Thompson, Esq.

TO PACE PAGE

The Gold Cup of St. Agnes, in the British Museum . i

Enamelled Altar, Romano-British. Found in the Thames . 36
From Kondakow's "Hist. et Mon. des Emaux Byzantins"

Byzantine Ivory Figure 38

From Labarte's " Arts au Moyen Age "

Book-cover, in the Treasury of St. Mark's, Venice . . 47
From Labarte's "Arts au Moyen Age"

Byzantine Book-cover, in the Treasury of St. Mark's, Venice 48
From Labarte's " Arts au Moyen Age "

Sardonyx Chalice mounted in silver, enamelled and gilt, in

the Treasury of St. Mark's, Venice . . . .49

From Schlumberger's " Epopde Byzantine." By permission of
Messrs. Hachette and Co.

Reliquary of the True Cross, eleventh century. At Gran,

Hungary 50

From Schlumberger's " Epopde Byzantine." By permission of
Messrs. Hachette and Co.

The Crowns of Hungary and Charlemagne .... 54
From photographs by Mr. Augustin Rischgitz

Paliotto in the Church of St. Ambrose, at Milan ... 59
From Knight's "Ecc. Architecture of Italy"

The Jewel of Alfred 60

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Portable Altar of St. Andrew, in the Cathedral Treasury,

Treves 61

By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

xi



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

TO FACE PAGE

Shrine of the Magi, in the Cathedral Treasury at Cologne . 70
From a photograph by Herr B. Kiihlens, Miinchen-Gladbach

Shrine of St. Arno, Siegburg 71

By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Shrine of St. Arno, Siegburg • 72

By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Shrine of St. Heribert, Deutz, Cologne .... 73

By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Shrine of St. Heribert, Deutz, Cologne .... 74

By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Shrine of St. Maurinus at St. Maria, in the Schnurgasse,

Cologne 75

By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Shrine of St. Benignus at Siegburg j6

By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Shrine of St. Mauritius and Innocentius at Siegburg . . TJ
By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Shrine of St. Honoratus at Siegburg 78

By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Shrine of St. Ursula at Cologne 79

By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Shrine of St. Suitbertus, Kaiserswerth 80

By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Reliquary of St. Simeon, MUnster, Aix-la-Chapelle . . 81
By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Portable Altar, Miinchen-Gladbach 81

By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Triptych with Scenes from the Life of St. Andrew, Treves 82
By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Cover of a Book of the Gospels, Treves .... 83
By kind permission of the Central-Gewerbe-Verein, Diisseldorf

Canopy Shrine at South Kensington Museum ... 84

Pyx in form of a Dove, on a circular tray, shaped like the

walls of a town, Limoges, thirteenth century . . 85
By kind permission of J. E. Taylor, Esq.

Reliquary, with Figures of Christ, the Apostles, and Evan-
gelists, Limoges, thirteenth century . . . . Z6
By kind permission of Lord Zouche
xii



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

TO FACE PAGE

Exterior of Diptych in Bassetaille on Silver-gilt, French,

fourteenth century 89

By kind permission of J. E Taylor, Esq.

Interior of Smaller Diptych, French or English Bassetaille,

fourteenth century 89

By kind permission of George Salting, Esq.

Shield with Visconti Arms, in Bassetaille, Italian, fifteenth

century 89

By kind permission of David M. Currie, Esq.

Reliquary, with the Martyrdom of St. Thomas a Becket,

Limoges, thirteenth century 90

By kind permission of the Society of Antiquaries

Dish or Salver and Beaker, Venetian painted enamel, fif-
teenth or sixteenth century 103

By kind permission of J. E. Taylor, Esq.

The Adoration of the Shepherds and of the Magi, North
Italian, painted enamel on silver, in brilliant translucent

colours, late fifteenth century no

By kind permission of J. E. Taylor, Esq.

Portrait of Henry d'Albret II, King of Navarre, by Leonard

Limousin (in colours) no

By kind permission of J. E. Taylor, Esq.

Virgin and Child (German enamel), at South Kensington

Museum 114

Memorial Casket, with Busts of the Roman Emperors in

subdued opaque colours, from the Penicaud ateliers . 115
By kind permission of Sir T. D. Gibson-Carmichael, Bart.

The Annunciation (Penicaud), at South Kensington Museum 116

Three Small Plaques, with Triumphal Procession in Cameo-
like Treatment, by K. I. P. ; Bandinelli's Martyrdom of
St. Lawrence, by Pape ; Venus and Mars, unsigned . 117
By kind permission of George Salting, Esq.

The Life of Christ, by John Penicaud II, at South Kensing-
ton Museum . , 118

Madonna and Child, in Grisaille, bears the Penicaud poin^on 120
By kind permission of R. C. Fisher, Esq.

Italian Painted Enamels, circa 1490 f22

By kind permission of George Salting, Esq.
Francois I, by Leonard Limousin 130

By kind permission of George Salting, Esq.

xiii



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

TO FACE PAGE

Elliptical Plaque, with the Sign of Virgo in rich colouring,

by P. R. (Pierre Raymond) 132

By kind permission of the Controller of H. M. Stationery Office

Vase with a Design by Marc Antonio, in Grisaille, ascribed

to Pierre Raymond 133

By kind permission of George Salting, Esq.

Circular Plateau, apparently by Jean Court, dit. Vigier . 134
By kind permission of the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres

Oval Dish, with Dance of the Muses, after Giulio Romano,

apparently by Jean Court, dit. Vigier . . . -135

By kind permission of the Duke of Devonshire

Plate, Phcebus driving the Chariot of the Sun, attributed

to Jean Court, dit. Vigier 136

By kind permission of George Salting, Esq.

Duchesse de Berri, by Charles Boit ; Queen Charlotte, by
H. Bone, R.A.; Lous XIV, by Jean Petitot ; Joseph
Addison, by Christian Zincke . . . . -139

From originals at South Kensington Museum

Charles de Guise, Cardinal of Lorraine, at South Kensington

Museum 145

Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, by H. P. Bone, Junr., at

South Kensington Museum 149

David Garrick, by W. Essex, at South Kensington Museum 150

A Dog's Head (Battersea enamel) ; French SnuiT-box, at

South Kensington Museum . . . . .156

Toilet- box (Battersea enamel), after Watteau, at South

Kensington Museum 159

English Candlesticks ........ 160

By kind permission of the Duke of Devonshire, Mr. William
Mitchell, and Mr. H. Swainson Cowper

A Piece by Alexander Fisher, at South Kensington Museum 172

A Piece by Nelson Dawson 173

By kind permission of the artist

The late Bishop Mandell Creighton, by H. von Herkomer . 174
By kind permission of the artist

The Chamberlain Casket, by H. Wilson . . . -175
By kind permission of the artist

A Ship, by H. H. Cunynghame 176



xiv



PREFACE



THE task of preparing a succinct account of
enamelling in Europe has not been an easy
one. Little is known of the enamellers, or of
the history of their lives. Their works are for the
most part unsigned, and are most of them now far
from the country of their origin.

Although there are many monographs on the
subject, yet so far as I am aware there is no work in
English devoted to a systematic account of enamels.

To French authors, however, a great debt of
gratitude is owing. The labours of Labarte,
Laborde, the Abbe Texier, have alone rendered
the task of writing this book possible.

Thanks are also due to M. Molinier, of the
Louvre, whose excellent treatise is the best that has
yet appeared. A recent work of magnificent ap-
pearance, but published at a price that is prohibitive
for most persons, appears to me to contain the most
profound investigation on the subject of enamels that
has yet been made — written by one who is
evidently familiar with the technique, as also with
the archaeology of the art. I allude to Kondakow's
"Histoire et Monuments des Emaux Byzantins."

On all questions connected with Byzantine work
Schlumberger's fine works should also be consulted.

XV



PREFACE

The apologies of an author for the imperfections of
which he is conscious generally appear out of place,
because readers will be apt to consider that he who
seeks to apologise for his speech had better have
remained silent. If, however, this work should be
found deficient, it will not be for want of an earnest
desire, and a considerable time spent in trying to
get it right. The aim of the author has been, not
to pursue the paths of minute archaeological re-
search, but to try to present a broad general view
of the subject. It is hoped also that the familiarity
which he may claim to possess of the technique
of the art may have helped in places to illumine
the subject, and may induce his readers to view
with indulgence the errors that no doubt their
vigilance will detect, but which are to some extent
inevitable in a subject upon which so few regular
treatises have been written.

Thanks are due to the Burlington Fine Arts
Club for permission to use the negatives of some
of their plates.

H. H. C.

Barn Ridge,

NuTFiELD, Surrey
June^ 1906



XVI



A





THE GOLD CUP OF ST. AGNES

AT THE BKITISH MUSEUM



EUROPEAN ENAMELS



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

IN its widest sense the word *' enamel " includes
all sorts of brilliant varnishes, as for instance
those covering baths or bicycles. It is, how-
ever, more correctly applied to shining glazes made
of glass, which are melted and caused to adhere by
means of heat to the surface of pottery, slate, or
metals.

Glass is a compound of silica, or flint, with soda,
or potash. It is made by finely powdering the
materials and subjecting them to a white heat.
The addition of some oxide of lead in the glass
makes it more refractive of light, and at the same
time more elastic and more easily fusible.

Although glass when cold is chemically very
inert, so that hardly anything except hydrofluoric
acid acts upon it, yet when hot it has very power-
ful solvent qualities. By this means it may be
coloured, for many metals are capable of imparting
a characteristic colour to glass. Thus iron gives a
sickly green, copper a turquoise blue, cobalt a royal
blue, uranium a yellow, chromium a green, and so

B



EUROPEAN ENAMELS

on. No object can be "glazed" or "enamelled"
unless it can bear the heat necessary to melt the
glass. The method of application is to grind the
glass up to impalpable powder with water, so as
to make a thin paste, and to apply this in a thick
coating to the object, which is then put for a few
minutes in a very hot furnace. By this means the
powdered glass is melted into a fluid and flows
evenly over the work. When cold it thus forms
a glassy surface.

Pottery and china ware is glazed in this way,
but after heating, it must be cooled very slowly, or
it is liable to crack. And, moreover, if the com-
position of the glass of the glaze does not suit the
composition of the body of the china or crockery,
it will split on cooling. Ordinary window or bottle
glass will not adhere to china or earthenware, un-
less a considerable portion of clay is melted up
with it. This tendency of glazes to crack — or, as it
is called in old English speech, to "craze" — is one
of the great difficulties of the potter, for each kind
of body must have its own special glaze. In all
cases, however, the use of lead oxide causes the
glass to run better and renders it less likely to
crack. Moreover, the lead increases the brilliance
and fusibility of the glaze, and renders the exact
temperature of firing of less importance. Hence
the value of lead to the potter and the tenacity
with which manufacturers cling to its use, in spite
of the dangers attending the workmen in those
factories where the strictest care and cleanliness
are not observed.

Almost all crockery and earthenware in ordinary
domestic use is glazed with lead. If the glaze is



INTRODUCTION

well made up with a sufficiency of silica, when once
it is fused there is no danger of its being dissolved
by any sort of food or drink ; but there are certain
roughly made lead glazes which are dangerous.

Borax is a substitute for lead in glazes ; it
causes the glaze to melt easily, and aids in dis-
solving metals so as to produce brilliant colour.
Unfortunately, however, instead of improving the
quality of the surface, borax renders it liable to
crack, and requires, therefore, the greatest skill and
care in use. The **leadless" glazes, about which
much has recently been written, are made with
borax instead of lead. But the difficulties attending
their manufacture are considerable.

Glass which contains a good deal of lead is called
** flint " glass, probably because it was first made in
the town of Flint. On the Continent it is known
as "crystal." On account of its highly refractive
power, flint glass is used for optical instruments.
The amount of oxide of lead which glass will dis-
solve is very great ; ordinary white glass will take
up much more than its own weight of oxide of lead.
The flint glass usually employed for cut-glass table
ware only, however, has about 20 to 30 per cent
of oxide of lead.

One of the most extraordinary properties of
glass is the elasticity and strength which it pos-
sesses when in thin sheets or threads. Glass can
be spun as fine as hair, and looks like floss-silk.
Hair-springs of watches can be made of it. If a
very thin piece of metal be coated on each side with
a thin layer of glass, the metal may be bent with-
out the glass breaking. In fact, it adheres something
like, though not so well, as the varnish on patent

3



EUROPEAN ENAMELS

leather. This extraordinary power of clinging to
metal gives rise to the beautiful art of enamelling
upon metals, which it is my object to describe.

In a book of this character it is not easy to
decide whether first to give an account of the
various sorts of enamels that have been made, and
the schools of artists who have made them, or to
commence with the method of making them, and
then to go on to the history of the subject.

Upon the whole it has been decided first to
give an outline of the method of manufacture, and
then to describe its use and application.

In the present work, all that I have aimed at
is to give such a sketch of the various processes
as will enable their general character to be under-
stood. Practical details I have already described
in another book.^ In order to comprehend or
criticize an oil painting, it is not absolutely neces-
sary to be acquainted with the manufacture and
mode of applying pigments and other materials,
though it is an advantage to know something
of their processes in order to understand the limi-
tations and possibilities of the art. When, how-
ever, we come to the inferior or secondary arts
of jewellery and enamelling — arts which are very
strictly limited and conditioned by the nature of the
various materials employed — it is essential to be
able to tell how works have been executed in order
that their merit may be understood. Indeed, it is
impossible to found anything like a proper critical
system or comprehension of their works except
upon a study of the methods by which they have

^ "The Art of Enamelling on Metal," H. Cunynghame. Constable,
1899.

4



INTRODUCTION

been produced. And this is the reason why I
think it necessary to give here an outline of the
process of making enamels.

In the first place, then, it must be explained
that only a limited number of the metals are cap-
able of receiving a coating of enamel. Some oxidize
so easily that the melted glass dissolves the oxide
and colours the enamel so deeply as to obscure any
other colour that may be desired. Others have the
curious property of "occluding" air, that is to say,
of absorbing it and putting it away in their pores,
probably in a liquid state. They only give out
this air again at a considerable temperature, and
thus, just as the glass is about to flow, air rushes
out of the metal and fills the glaze with bubbles
like the gas in soda-water, and the work is ruined.
Platinum and nickel have this curious quality.

Of all metals the best for enamelling is gold. It
melts at a high temperature, is beautifully ductile,
and the enamel clings firmly to it. Its glorious
colour shines through the enamel and produces
a result which for brilliancy is unequalled by any
other material.

But only absolute gold should be employed.
The alloys which are so largely — nay, so univer-
sally — used for ordinary jewels, melt at a lower
temperature than pure gold ; they become oxidized
and dull in the fire ; they are more or less brittle,
and the glass does not adhere so well to them.

The beautiful enamelled jewels of the sixteenth
century are all done (so far as can be judged) upon
pure gold. I would therefore entreat the artist not
to be too niggardly with this material. The gold
may be used very thin, and the enamel then backed

5



EUROPEAN ENAMELS

or mounted on copper ; but pray let us have all the
visible parts of the work in the purest virgin gold,
than which nothing can be more beautiful, whether
enamelled, left dull, or burnished so as to be
resplendent.

Added to this, it is to be observed that gold
with even a hundredth part of alloy in it will
tarnish, whereas pure gold remains brilliant for
ever. It is not easy, however, to use the pure gold
for jewellery in positions where hard wear is to be
expected, for pure gold is as soft and malleable
as lead.

Hence, then, our gold enamel work must be
set in a protecting rim of diamonds, steel, nickel,
or silver, or else of alloyed gold, so as to resist
injury. Some of the finest cinquecento work was
enclosed in bevelled glass cut like crystal, and this
has a very pleasing effect.

A considerable quantity of the enamelled jewel-
lery now being made consists of silver brooches and
mantle clasps, frequently in silver and covered with
patches of enamel of very considerable size. In
most of these ornaments it seems to me that the
enamel has been too rashly used and insufficiently
protected ; for in order that a large space of enamel
should remain uncracked, the metal on which it
lies should not be at all strained or bent. This can
only be secured either by making the metal very
strong and heavy, or else (a better plan) executing
the enamel on a small plaque let loosely into a deep
recess in a strongly made buckle, or other orna-
ment. Thus the strain on the setting never comes
on the enamel plaque at all. As the matter stands,
I fear that the present practice will cause great
6



INTRODUCTION

cracking of enamelled ornaments and perhaps entail
a prejudice against them.

Silver melts at a lower temperature than gold.
It is usually alloyed with copper. When the least
trace of copper is present, silver heated to a red-
heat becomes covered with a beautiful black ad-
herent scale, which we know as "oxidized silver."
But when silver is quite pure, it comes out of the


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