I have been working with found objects specifically figurines, I am interested there domestic position within our homes and what they represent. They convey impressions of character, performance and craft. And have been working with changing their appearance by painting them white and then placing them on to domestic platforms.
On a visit to The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea I noticed in their porcelain collection white figurines and had investigate this process further. After some research this is what I found.
With the European porcelain (from early 18th century), they were making it white to try and show the purity, as porcelain was a new material (in Europe).
Many of the figures were made as sculptural objects, and were valued as such, so it would have been thought of as ‘gaudy’ to paint them.
There was a fashion for ‘blanc de Chine’ items – i.e. they wanted to emulate white Chinese porcelain
Up until about the 1780s, there were limited glazes available; there were only 5 – black, yellow, green, red, blue; and pre-1750 ceramics were decorated only in blue and white.
However, they were also decorated sometimes to hide imperfections!
Thank you Ellie at The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery for your help!