repousee-msg - 11/19/99
Period process or hammering out an object from the backside once the object is stuck to a pitch/plaster mixture in a pitchbowl.
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Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 12:17:18 -0500
From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>
To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu
Maggie Allen wrote:
> Pardon my ignorance but what is Repousee?
The process of hammering metal out from the _backside_ once it has been
stuck to a pitch/plaster mixture in a pitchbowl. Chasing is basically
touching it up from the front. In either case punches and a hammer are
used. It produces raised decorations in sheet metals. They can be flat
to begin with or even bowls or raised objects like vases - in which
case you might use a snarling iron.
Ok, what is a snarling iron? A snarling iron is a double bent piece
of steel which sits horizontally out from a vise. One bend goes down
into the vise and is held there. The other end goes vertically up and
is shaped into whatever is appropriate for the design you wish to
raise on the surface of the vessel. One places the vessel over the
iron, feels by tipping it a bit where the iron tip is touching and
whacks the iron with a hammer, thus causing it to rebound and bump
up the surface of the vessel. Once sufficient metal has been raised
it is generally refined (chased) by filling the vessel with pitch
and hammering the metal back with punches to bring out the detail.
Why do you use pitch? You use pitch because it has the ability to
hold the metal without deforming it while it has the ability to give
under the blows of the punch and hammer. One melts the pitch carefully
with a torch and sticks the metal to it - or one melts the pitch in
a double boiler and pours it into it. One heats the metal to unstick
it or pour it out. One uses a 'soft' flame to heat the metal, not a
high temperature torch. One does _not_ heat the pitch from below in
an ordinary pan unless one likes being covered with very hot sticky
tar. Gases will build up under it.
You can also use a bell hammer to beat out the surface in a vessel.
A Bell hammer is basically shaped like a P without the straight
continuation of the line in front of the curve of the P. It generally
has a ball at the end of the curve. One carefully swings it inside
the object to raise the surface. You generally still end up chasing
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 10:32:45 -0800 (PST)
From: Heidi Johnson <heidij at rocketmail.com>
To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Need Sources for Documenting Repousee
---Gunnora Hallakarva wrote:
> A gentleman here in Ansteorra has asked me if I can assist him in locating
> sources documenting medieval repousee techniques.
Repousee is most definitely period, although without a more
specific period reference, I can only give you general information to
pass on. Here are a few books that might be helpful:
Anne Garside Ed., Jewelry Ancient to Modern, Viking Press, 1979
G. Gregorietti, Jewelry through the ages, American Heritage Press, New
T. Hackens, A. Winkes, Gold Jewelry. Craft, Style and Meaning from
Mycenae to Constantinopolis, Belgium 1983
H. Hodges, ARTIFACTS An introduction to early materials and
technology, Duckworch, London 1989
Jewelry -- 7,000 Years The Trustees of the British Museum © 1986,
1991 Harry Abrams, Inc.
Ronald W. Lightbown, Medieval European Jewelry, © Victoria and Albert
Tylecote R.F, The early history of metallurgy in Europe, Longman, New
And Primary Sources:
Agricola, Georgius De Re Metallica
Albertus Magnus, Book of Minerals,Tr. by Dorothy Wyckoff. Oxford 1967
Cellini, Benvenuto, Treatise on Goldsmithing and Sculpture, Tr. by C.
R. Ashbee, N. Y. 1967
Theophilus, On Divers Arts, Tr. by J. Hawthorne and C. Smith. Chicago
1976 (Also available in a Dover edition)
Kassia Tzykandelina, Nordskogen, Northshield, Midrealm
mka Heidi Johnson
Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 02:02:56 -0500From: Roberta R Comstock <froggestow at juno.com>To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.eduSubject: Re: Repousse I haven't done much metalwork myself, but have sure studied a lot of it.My favorite handy (and cheap!) technical reference is _Metalwork &Enamelling_ by Herbert Maryon. 5th Ed. New York: Dover. 1971. ISBN0-486-22702-2There's an excellent book I picked up at the metropolitan in New Yorkabout 15 years ago. Don't have it handy at the moment, but i think thetitle is something like 'The Treasure of San Marco' in Venice. It's abeautifully illustrated catalog of the loot from the sack ofConstantinople. OOdles of reliquaries with repousse icons all over them,ornate book covers, chalices, religious pariphenalia (mostly Christian),etc, etc etc. Mounting varies.There are a lot of period pieces that are copper-gilt or vermeille(which, if i remember right is silver-gilt), and a variety of othermetals and alloys, not always precious metals.Have fun.Hertha
Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 15:36:21 -0500 (CDT)From: Lorine S Horvath <lhorvath at plains.NoDak.edu>To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.eduSubject: Re: Repousse
On Tue, 4 May 1999 GoodhueMA at aol.com wrote:> Repousse Questions>> Were base metals used and then gilded? If so when?> I don't know. I haven't found examples of gilding in my research yet.Hi! Tarrach here. In answer to the question below: There is asubstantial amount of evidence for guilding on bronze repousse on findsfrom the 7th century. See discussions in The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial:Arms Armour and Regailia by R. Bruce-Mitford (1978). Note, most of thestuff from Sutton Hoo was actual gold, but the repousse helmet plaqueswere of bronze that had been tinned (kind of like guilding in tin).There are some excellent gold gilt bronze repousse work from theValsgard and Vendal finds of the same time period. Hope this helps.
Date: Wed, 05 May 1999 17:39:52 -0400From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.eduSubject: Re: Repousse Lorine S Horvath wrote:> Hi! Tarrach here. In answer to the question below: There is a> substantial amount of evidence for guilding on bronze repousse on finds> >from the 7th century. See discussions in The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial:> Arms Armour and Regailia by R. Bruce-Mitford (1978). Note, most of the> stuff from Sutton Hoo was actual gold, but the repousse helmet plaques> were of bronze that had been tinned (kind of like guilding in tin).> There are some excellent gold gilt bronze repousse work from the> Valsgard and Vendal finds of the same time period. Hope this helps.Note: the plates were most probably made by hammering the metal betweena lead sheet and a bronze matrix with the design cast onto it.Hammering deforms the lead and pushes the metal beneath it down onto the design. I believe there are examples of these kinds of moldsin Viking to Crusader. The original matrix was most probably lost waxcast in a tempered clay mold. This makes for mass production relativelyeasily. You will note that there are more than one identical plate.See:Aspects of AngloSaxon Archaeology, Sutton Hoo and Other Discoveries,by Rupert Bruce Mitford, Keeper of Medieval and Later Antiquitiesin the British Museum, Harpers Magazine Press, New York 1974.ISBN 06 120480 3 LOC 73 13220 Harper and Row Publishers.This book includes detailed articles on the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial,Saxon Rendlesham, The Snape Boat Grave, An earlier Sutton Hooexcavation diary, Later Sutton Hoo excavations, Ship's Figure Headsfrom the Migration Period, The Sutton Hoo Lyre, The Sutton Hoo Helmet,and a new reconstrution of it, The Torslunda Plates (Matrices), TheBenty Grange Helmet and other supposed Anglo Saxon Helmets, S.H. andthe Background of Beowulf, Six interesting pieces of Cloisonne Jewelry,St. Cuthbert's Pectoral Cross, Late Saxon Disc Brooches, and a blueglass jar. The book is fairly specific on most constrution details.The Sutton Hoo Lyre is in detail in all it's pieces.I'm not sure if Thora has used it for her reconstruction or not,but I thought I'd mention it in case she's missed this one. :)I know she has an article on it on her fine webpages.There was a medium grade book written recently with the titleRepousse. It's not bad but it's not great either. Have it but can'tfind it for a citation. Should still be on the market.Magnus
Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 20:05:53 -0500 (CDT)
From: Lorine S Horvath <lhorvath at plains.NoDak.edu>
To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: Repousse
> Note: the plates were most probably made by hammering the metal between
> a lead sheet and a bronze matrix with the design cast onto it.
> Hammering deforms the lead and pushes the metal beneath it down on
> to the design. I believe there are examples of these kinds of molds
> in Viking to Crusader. The original matrix was most probably lost wax
> cast in a tempered clay mold. This makes for mass production relatively
> easily. You will note that there are more than one identical plate.
Oh! Good point! I guess the helmet plaques probably do not fall into the
category of true Repousse. However, it should be noted that some of the
shield mounts from Valsgard are not all (or even mostly identical, and
are a bit on the long side to have been stamped out. Although, such a
comment should be tempered with the possibility that they could have been.
See G. Arwidsson: Die Graberfunde von Valsgard I, Valsgard 6 Acta Musei
Antiquitatum Septentrionalium Regiae Universitatis IV (1942), Also,
similar titles and publisher Valgard II Valsgard 8 (1954). Also, see the
close-up of the tail section of the bird shaped shield mount from Sutton
Hoo (Figure 44 in Bruce-Mitford Vol. II).This piece (although gold rather
than gilt bronze appears to have been done in a true repousse technique.