Reconstruction of 1768 German recipe for white sculpting wax

Monday, October 16, 2017

Thursday 12 October 2017

Utrecht University Museum laboratory

Reconstruction of

Materials used:

White bees wax (Dorgisterij Wortman, Utrecht)

White lead (Kremserweiss, Kremer Pigmente)

Zinc white (Kremer Pigmente)

Organic beef suet (Groenweg Slagerij, Utrecht)

Turpentine (Portuguese gom turpentine, Drogisterij Wortman, Utrecht)


I followed the instruction "2) To make a white sculpting wax. Take white wax 1 loth, pounded lead

white 1/2 loth, also a little Venetian Tur-

pentine, and a little clean white goat fat; let

it melt together on a tempered coal fire,

and then cast it in clean cool water, or in a mould.", except I used a hot plate and not a coal fire. The Venetian turpentine was replaced with Portuguese gom turpentine, and the goat fat with beef fat. Pellets were cast on a palette, resulting in very white, opaque, and slightly sticky wax.  


Subsequently, I tried replacing the lead white with zinc white, because it is less poisonous. This turned out to be difficult because the zinc white has a very different molecular weight than lead white - 3 grams of zinc white is almost twice as much volume as 3 grams of lead white, resulting in pellets that were even whiter than those made with white lead. 

Reconstruction of