A Fragile Heritage
Aspects of Historic Glass
Cambridge - Wednesday 6th September 2017

Ângela Santos
<[email protected]>

article posted 15 May 2017

Ângela Santos finished her Bachelor’s degree in Conservation and Restoration at Faculty of Sciences and Technology (FCT), NOVA University of Lisbon (UNL), Portugal in 2015. During her Bachelor’s course, in 2015, she interned in “Collections Care” Program, carried out over 4 weeks at National Palace of Pena, within the curricular unit “Seminars/Workshops in Conservation and Restoration” through a partnership between Parques de Sintra – Monte da Lua company and Faculty of Sciences and Technology – UNL.
She started her Master’s degree in Conservation and Restoration at the same University (FCT-UNL) in 2015.
In 2016 she worked as a volunteer intern at Santa Maria da Graça Church (Monforte, Portugal) in the Conservation and Restoration intervention of two altars from 18th century (Senhor dos Passos and Nossa Senhora do Parto).
Currently she is working on her thesis “Sanguine red glass painting: production methods, application, characterization, and adhesion studies” at the Research Unit VICARTE – Vidro e Cerâmica para as Artes (Glass and Ceramic for the Arts).

Sanguine red glass painting: historical recipes for production and application
Ângela Santosa* & Márcia Vilariguesa,b.

For centuries, grisaille and yellow stain were the only painting materials used in stained glass production [1]–[4]. At the end of 15th century, the glassmakers began to use a new painting material in stained glass decoration, the sanguine red or also called carnation red [1], [5]. This paint is mainly produced with iron oxide particles, usually hematite (Fe2O3) or magnetite (Fe3O4), finely ground, and have a flesh colour that can varied between yellowish to brownish red due to the iron oxide nature and their particles size [1], [5]–[9]. A translucent sanguine red was mostly applied to represent bodies and hairs, and a more opaque one to colour clothes, architectural motifs, and heraldry [1].
Considering previous research projects on sanguine glass painting and production methods, the main goals of this study are the understanding of the relations between the treatises and historical sources of information written and/or published from the 15th century to the 19th century and the evolution of the production methods and recipes. The most representative recipes were selected and reproduced. The production of sanguine glass paints from the 15th to 19th century will allow the characterization of this paint material with analytical techniques such as Optical Microscopy (MO), X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Colorimetry. This results will be correlated with historical sanguine glass paints applied on stained-glass.


[1] J. M. A. Caen, “The Prodution of Stained Glass in the County of Flanders and the Duchy of Brabant from XVth to the XVIIIth Centuries: Materials and Techniques,” Brepols, Antwerpen, 2009.
[2] O. Schalm, K. Janssens, and J. Caen, “Characterization of the main causes of deterioration of grisaille paint layers in 19th century stained-glass windows by J.-B. Capronnier,” Spectrochim. Acta Part B, vol. 58, pp. 589–607, 2003.
[3] P. Redol, O Mosteiro da Batalha e o Vitral em Portugal nos séculos XV e XVI, 1a Edição. Câmara Municipal da Batalha, 2003. [4] L. Cannon, Stained Glass in The Burrell Collection. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers Ltd, 1991.
[5] O. Schalm, “Characterization of paint layers in stained-glass windows: main causes of the degradation of nineteenth century grisaille paint layers,” Universitaire Instelling Antwerpen, 2000.
[6] I. Portal, “Sanguine et Jean Cousin. Deux matériaux utilisés pour rendre les carnations dans les vitraux?: histoire des termes, nature des matériaux.,” École du Louvre, 2011.
[7] O. Schalm, K. Janssens, F. Adams, J. Albert, K. Peeters, and J. Caen, “Une étude historique et chimique de peinture de verre ‘Rouge Jean Cousin,’” Dossier de la Commission Royale des Monuments, Sites et Fouilles, 3 - Grisaille, Jaune d’Argent, Sanguine, Émail et Peinture à Froid, Liège, pp. 155–161, 1996.
[8] O. Schalm, J. Caen, and K. Janssens, “Homogeneity, composition and deterioration of window glass fragments and paint layers from two seventeenth-century stained glass windows created by jan de caumont (~1580-1659),” Stud. Conserv., vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 216–226, 2010.
[9] B. Butts and L. Hendrix, Painting on Light: Drawings and Stained Glass in Age of Dürer and Holbein. Los Angeles: Getty Trust Publications: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000.


a Department of Conservation and Restoration, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon, 2829-516, Caparica, Portugal.
b Research Unit VICARTE, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon, 2829-516, Caparica, Portugal.