lead-tin-yellow

If Lapis Lazuli is the king of the Rennaissence palette, then Lead Tin Yellow would be its queen. Used extensively by Vermeer, it’s distinct lemon hue was, until the introduction of Naples Yellow in the eaely 18th century, the most important yellow pigment for artists.

Discovered in the 13th century it was often used alone but also added to green and earth pigments for the creation of grass and foliage colours.

Also called ‘gialllolino’, it was produced by fusing lead, tin, and quartz at about 800°C, forming a yellow lead glass pigment that is ground and screened through a ne mesh.

Due to its high lead content, it is highly poisonous and was replaced by safer yellow pigments. The knowledge of its production was lost in the 19th century but was rediscovered in 1941.