One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A medium blue pigment made from basic copper carbonate.
- ‘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".’
- ‘He accordingly mixed one part of red lead, four parts of blue bice, and a proper proportion of orpiment and verdigris.’
- ‘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.’
Middle English (originally in the sense ‘dark or brownish gray’): from Old French bis ‘dark gray’, of unknown ultimate origin.
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