Tin white

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Tin (IV) oxide powder
Materialscientist at English Wikipedia


An opaque, bluish-white, pearlescent pigment composed of Stannic oxide. Tin white occurs naturally as the mineral Cassiterite. Most commonly, tin white was used for opacity in ceramic glazes and glassware to produce a translucent milky color. It was also used in some watercolor paintings and manuscript illuminations until the early 17th century, but was discontinued because it can blacken in sunlight and when mixed with Lead white.

Synonyms and Related Terms

CI Pigment White 15; stannic oxide; tin oxide; white tine oxide; flowers of tin ; tono (Esp.); blanc d'étain (Fr.); branco de estanho (Port.)

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Lightfast; discolored by oxidizers
  • Soluble in concentrated sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid. Insoluble in water.
  • May be a respiratory irritant

Resources and Citations

  • The Color of Art Pigment Database: Pigment White 15
  • ChemicalBook: Stannic oxide
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • R.D. Harley, Artists' Pigments c. 1600-1835, Butterworth Scientific, London, 1982
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, https://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabulary/aat/, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2000