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  • Writer's pictureMichael Skalka

The Lead White Pot

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Displayed is a 19th century depiction of a pot that would contain a coil of lead that was destined to be exposed to acetic acid contained in the lower chamber of the pot, (the area just above the figure caption) to create lead acetate and then become infiltrated with carbonic gasses from tan or manure to create the finished lead white product that is lead carbonate. This reaction all takes place in the contain using the acetic acid from the vinegar in the lower portion of the pot and the manure or tan that is heaped around the pot to produce carbonic gasses that transforms the lead acetate into lead carbonate. Lead pigment is becoming increasingly difficult to find. Since lead was discontinued in commercial applications, the market for lead has atrophied. Does this pigment have a place in the artist's palette or should it be relegated to the halls of time, a necessary invention, an amazing product, but still a potential hazard to both produce and use?

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