One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A medium blue or blue-green pigment made from basic copper carbonate.
- ‘Blue bice was used in watercolors and distemper during the 17th and 18th centuries. Our blue bice is made according to an English recipe of the 18th century.’
- ‘He accordingly mixed one part of red lead, four parts of blue bice, and a proper proportion of orpiment and verdigris.’
- ‘Houses may be done with red lead; the tiles with vermilion or bice to represent blue slate.’
- ‘Blue bice, however, has also been used to refer to the pigment produced from grinding the copper carbonate mineral azurite.’
- ‘Repeated coats of lime have entirely covered all "gold, vermilion, and blue bice".’
Middle English (originally in the sense ‘dark or brownish grey’): from Old French bis ‘dark grey’, of unknown ultimate origin.
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