Materials and Techniques - Supports
Design for a Woven Silk, Unknown, 1375 - about 1399. Museum no. 2328
Design for a Woven Silk
1375 - about 1399
Bistre ink on vellum
Width 14.4 cm x height 17.3 cm
Museum no. 2328
An example of the use of vellum for a working drawing before paper was plentiful in Europe.
Venus and Cupid Trampling on a Serpent, Bernardo Parentino, late 15th or early 16th century. Museum no. Dyce 149
Venus and Cupid Trampling on a Serpent
Bernardo Parentino (1437-1531)
Late 15th or early 16th century
Ink on vellum
Width 17.1 cm x height 24.2 cm
Museum no. Dyce 149
This drawing provides a good example of how ink rests on the surface of vellum rather than getting sucked into it, creating crisp fine lines.
Parrot Tulip, Georg Dionysus Ehret, about 1750-70. Museum no. D.582-1886
Georg Dionysus Ehret (1708-1770)
Watercolour and gouache on vellum
Museum no. D.582-1886
This drawing was made as an illustration for Hortus Nitidissimus, a botanical book celebrating the beauty of garden plants. Thus it was reproduced in some considerable number. The somewhat anachronistic use of vellum contributes to the sense of the value of the original drawing as a luxury item.
An Angel Holding a Wreath (or a Crown of Thorns) in the Right Hand and a Staff in the Left, Unknown, mid 16th century. Museum no. 8638b
An Angel Holding a Wreath (or a Crown of Thorns) in the Right Hand and a Staff in the Left
Mid 16th century
Lead-point or chalk on laid paper, pre-washed pink
Width 10.1 cm x height 16.5 cm
Museum no. 8638b
An example of a pre-washed paper, the colour of which sets off the delicate lines beautifully.
Seated Male Nude, with his Hands Clasped Over his Left Knee, Jacopo Tintoretto, about 1575. Museum no. Dyce 246
Seated Male Nude, with his Hands Clasped Over his Left Knee
Jacopo Tintoretto (1518-1594)
Black chalk on blue laid paper
Width 12.3 cm x height 21.9 cm
Museum no. Dyce 246
An example of relatively unfaded integrally-coloured blue paper.
Allegorical Figure of a Woman, Giovanni Mauro della Rovere, called il Fiammenghino, early 17th century. Museum no. D.69-1885
Allegorical Figure of a Woman
Giovanni Mauro della Rovere, called il Fiammenghino (about 1575-1640)
Early 17th century
Ink and wash heightened with white on blue laid paper
Width 22.2 cm x height 24.2 cm
Museum no. D.69-1885
The integrally blue coloured paper looks as if it is grey as it has also been prepared with a grey wash.
Studies of Goats. Probably Related to a Painting of the Prodigal Son, Thomas Gainsborough, late 1780s. Museum no. Dyce 688
Studies of Goats. Probably Related to a Painting of the Prodigal Son
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788)
Black and white chalk on buff laid paper
Width 21 cm x height 17.5 cm
Museum no. Dyce 688
The paper is very rough. It appears to have been scarcely pressed at all and individual fibres can be picked out. The horizontal and vertical lines of the laid paper are visible in the drawn areas especially in the areas of white where they have only partially accepted the chalk.
First Thoughts for the Building for the Great Exhibition of 1851, Sir Joseph Paxton, 1850. Museum no. E.575-1985
First Thoughts for the Building for the Great Exhibition of 1851
Sir Joseph Paxton (1801-1865)
Ink on blotting paper
Width 28 cm x height 39.4 cm
Museum no. E.575-1985
Blotting paper is unsized. As a result it draws the ink into its matted fibres. causing the richness and lack of definition of the image.
Anchors. Study for The Channel at Gravelines, Evening, Georges Pierre Seurat, 1890. Museum no. P.4-1982
Anchors. Study for The Channel at Gravelines, Evening
Georges Pierre Seurat (1859-1891)
Chalk on laid paper
Width 31.5 cm x height 23.7 cm
Museum no. P.4-1982
The laid paper’s vertical and horizontal lines have affected how the chalk has adhered to it and are clearly visible.
Study of Reclining Female Nudes, Gustav Klimt, early 20th century. Museum no. E.1083 -1966
Study of Reclining Female Nudes
Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)
Early 20th century
Blue chalk on cream wove paper
Width 20 cm x height 56 cm
Museum no. E.1083 -1966
The smooth silky finish of this paper sets off the spare lines of the drawing. This kind of wove paper imitates Japanese paper. Japanese papers became fashionable as a support for drawing early in the 20th century since when many imitations similar to this one have been manufactured.
Portrait of Peter Watson, Head and Shoulders, Lucian Freud, about 1950. Museum no. Circ.308-1958
Portrait of Peter Watson, Head and Shoulders
Lucian Freud (b. 1922)
Charcoal and white chalk on grey-brown laid paper
Width 48.1 cm x height 36 cm
Museum no. Circ.308-1958
Close examination shows that the grey tone of the paper comes from the use of grey fibres. The artist clearly enjoyed the texture of the laid paper setting off its vertical lines visible through the shading of the tie against the diagonally patterned fabric of the sitter’s jacket.
Small Soundpiece, Sîan Bowen, 1999. Museum no. E.359-2005
By Sîan Bowen (born 1959)
Pencil on a fragment of wallpaper
24 x 18 cm
Museum no. E.359-2005