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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.

 

NOTE: See also the files: metalworking-msg, metalworking-FAQ, metals-msg, blacksmithing-msg, tools-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

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Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 12:17:18 -0500

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Repousee

 

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

the surface.

 

Magnus

 

 

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:

 

 

Secondary sources:

Anne Garside Ed., Jewelry Ancient to Modern, Viking Press, 1979

 

G. Gregorietti, Jewelry through the ages, American Heritage Press, New

York 1969

 

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

Museum

 

Tylecote R.F, The early history of metallurgy in Europe, Longman, New

York l987

 

 

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.

 

YIS Tarrach

 

<the end>



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