Sunday, May 17, 2009

Color of the Day - Mummy

Mummy, 1901 – ‘Mummy,’ as a pigment, is inferior to prepared, but superior to raw, asphalt, inasmuch as it has been submitted to a considerable degree of heat, and has thereby lost some of its volatile hydrocarbons. Moreover, it is usual to grind up the bones and other parts of the mummy together, so that the resulting powder has more solidity and is less fusible than the asphalt alone would be. A London colourman informs me that one Egyptian mummy furnishes sufficient material to satisfy the demands of his customers for twenty years. It is perhaps scarcely necessary to add that some samples of the pigment sold as ‘mummy’ are spurious. Mummy was certainly used as an oil-paint at least as early as the close of the sixteenth century.
Chemistry of Paints and Painting, 1901

excerpt from:
Elephant's Breath and London Smoke
edited by Deb Salisbury
Available at

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