buckthorn

Another lake pigment was Stil de Grain: made from the berries of the Buckthorn bush.

Like all lake pigments, the dye was extracted with an alum solution and converted into a pigment by adding a solution of potash.

Colour-makers in the Middle Ages and later became very skilled in producing a wide range of colours from this one berry. The nal colour could be controlled by the time of harvesting, the addition of tin, copper or iron salts and the temperature of the dye solution in the manufacture process.

When the solution is held at 50° C a lemon yellow lake is created, at 100° C it produces an orange colour. Gen- uine Sap Green is also made from Buckthorn berries.

It is a fugitive pigment but medieval manuscript books have protected it from light and moisture much better than in easel painting. In the Middle Ages the colour was sold in bladder sacks as a dense syrup, instead of being dried and sold as powder. During the 18th century it was used extensively in France and England as an oil colour.

Stil de Grain was also known as Yellow Madder, Dutch pink, Brown pink and English pink (In the 17th century ‘pinke’ was a term used for all lake pigment colours).

Now an obsolete pigment, replaced by lightfast modern colours.