Ivory Black

(bone black)

icory black pigment

Origin, History and Characteristics

Bone black is prepared by charring bones, horns etc. in the absence of air. It is the deepest black but it was not used as widely as charcoal black. Fragments or turnings of ivory, or of the osseous parts of animals are put into a crucible surrounded by burning coals and covered. The ivory or bones, by exposure to the heat, were reduced to charcoal.

Bone Black in Vermeer's Painting

The presence of bone black has been detected only once in the black marble tiles of The Music Lesson. It was also added to natural ultramarine to tone down the white tiles in the same painting.