Transparencies – translucent hand-coloured prints or drawings – became common from around the 1770s. Their popularity peaked from the 1790ies until well into the early 19th century.
Transparencies were displayed at home or, in larger size, at nearly every kind of festivity from assemblies and dinners to astronomical lectures and theatres. You would find them at fairs, pleasure gardens and public celebrations.
The 18th century sees an increase in scientific knowledge and practical research. Many findings have a direct impact on everyday life, craft and commerce. New technics allows, e.g., to create new colours. Find out here what Napoleon’s Campaign in Egypt, the Prussians and an apothecary have to do with the various blue pigments created in the long 18th century.
Around the turn of the 19th century, Joseph Mallord William Turner was a young, restless painter, always on the lookout for inspiration for his art. After having toured many parts of Britain, he planned to visit the Continent. He was especially interested in the awe-inspiring, romantic Swiss Alps – considered by many a rocky, dangerous wasteland. Thus, aged about 27, and still being an unknown artist, he decided to follow his plans through. Let’s accompany him on his first ever trip abroad.
In the Romantic Age as well as today, high-quality watercolour-paper for artists is the so called wove paper ready-sized with gelatine. This paper is still produced at Two Rivers Paper Mill in Somerset, England. I went there to learn more about this traditional craft. You can read about my field trip to their workshop here.
The pleasant village of Roadwater lies a couple of miles behind us, and the small road leads into a forest. We are on a field research trip to Two Rivers Paper Mill in Somerset/UK to learn about the traditional production of watercolour paper. Exploring the Regency period can be exciting – and might include loosing the way. We are about to turn the car, when we see a white building with a black slate roof. It is Two Rivers Paper Mill, built in the 1680ies. In the Georgian era, the mill was a thriving corn mill, known as Pitt Mill. Today, the mill is a centre of the traditional production of a paper that was vital for the latest trend in arts during the Romantic Age: high-quality watercolour-paper. Continue reading →