WHAT IS FAIRYLAND LUSTRE?
Lustre decoration on ceramics consists of a delicate film of metal deposited on to the surface of an already fired glaze which gives metallic reflections and may appear irridescent.
The application of the designs was achieved by employing a variety of techniques demanding great skill which required the ware to be fired five or even six times.
Folowing a first firing to give it permanent shape, the piece was "fitted" with a paper transfer bearing a design freshly printed from an engraved copperplate.
This plate may have been etched by Daisy herself.
Large vases required several engravings and a transferrer expertly placed the printed tissues in postion, carefully aligning the cut edges.
After the design had been firmly rubbed down so that it adhered to the ceramic body, the tissue was floated off in water. When dry the article was ready for painting in colours.
A soft ponted brush was used to apply the paint, one colour at a time, within the printed outline. Many lustre pieces have a background of blurred colouring known as "stainings" or a "dappled" appearance in one or more colours known as "mottlings" or "stipplings" which was produced by a paintress skilled in using a sponge.
After completion of the painting, the article was fired in a low temperature "hardening-on" or "muffin" kiln.
It was then dipped in a liquid lead glaze and fired in a high-temperature "glost" kiln, emerging with a glass-like surface.
Liquid lustres were painted on to a glazed surface in a dust-free atmosphere with a flat soft-hair brush using wide sweeping strokes; mother-of-pearl or iris lustre required irregular, zig-zag application to enhance the irridecent effect.
The article was then fired in a low-temperature kiln and if a second coat of lustre was required it was applied over the first and then refired.
The lustres used by Daisy Makeig-Jones were commercial or "liquid lustres", highly complex preparations of various metallic compounds combined with resins and volatile oils, produced by specialist laboratoires.
Most lustre colours result form a particular metal from amongst their various constituents; orange lustre based on iron, yellow lustre on uranium, mother-of-pearl despite its multi-colour effect from only one metal, titanium or bismuth. Purple, however, containing five metals is based on gold as are pink and ruby lustres.
Pale blue was made by the paintresses at Wedgwood mixing one part of ruby lustre with four parts of mother-of-pearl lustre.
Gold printing by the "pluck and dust" method was the final stage in the decorating process.
Another tissue transfer from the engraved copperplate printed using a paste made from a thin oil mixed with mercuric oxide was placed in exact alignment with the original outline.
The tissue was carefully "plucked off", the re-printed design dusted with pure gold powder form which adhered to it, and the ware's edges were painted by hand with liquid gold.
After a final firing, the gold outline was polished with fine silver sand and the gilt edges burnished.
The additional overglaze painting of enamels which occasionally took place would have required a further low temperature firing.