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The traditions of the Roman potters appear to have been gradually lost, leaving behind only sufficient skill to make rude crocks for domestic use and to coat them, if required, with a crude yellowish lead glaze sometimes stained to a vivid green with copper oxide.
Applied ornament of roughly modelled clay and scratched designs were the chief embellishments of such wares, which were of the same class as the medieval pottery of Great Britain and the north of Europe.
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This decorative method has been already mentioned several times, for it was practised during the early middle ages in all the countries from India to Italy, and the Byzantine potters were adepts in its use. (South Kensington Museum.)when painted majolica was the ware of the wealthy, this earlier and humbler pottery was used by those who could not afford the former; and the gaily-colored later wares of this kind have a fine decorative quality of their own.
Nor has its practice ever ceased in Italy, for through all the times -.---, FIG. From the depth beneath the present soil at which fragments of this ware have been disinterred, it is obvious that the method was widely practised in early times, and no simpler glazed wares are known except those covered all over with green, yellow or brown glazes.
The technique of a siliceous slipcoating with color painted on that and covered with a transparent alkaline glaze, was only sparingly used, and then not very successfully; it is only the introduction of the tin-enamel that was turned to fruitful account and led to the production of the magnificent Italian majolica of the 15th and 16th centuries. In the same way the practice of lustre decoration might have been learnt from the Orient, but its late appearance on Italian wares (16th century) and its evident relationship to the lustres of Spain, rather than to the earlier lustres of Egypt, Syria and Persia, are further evidence that though oriental decorative motives gave the Italians certain early types of design, it is the Hispano Moresque potters from whom the Italians learnt the art they were afterwards to develop so splendidly in a new direction.f All the Italian pottery above the level of common crocks may be conveniently grouped into four classes. The native wares, made of coarse and often dark-red clay, coated with a white clay slip (a kind of pipe-clay) and covered with a crude lead glaze, either yellow or green.
The idea of rendering this ware ornamental, and fitting it for more than vulgar use, led to a great development of the graf/lato process; where, while the vessel, with its white clay coating was firm yet soft enough, patterns were scratched or engraved through the white slip to the red body beneath.Dating virtual girlfriend.