Terms

Chalkware

Chalkware
 
Chalkware is a term that refers to decorative items made out of gypsum, which were very popular from the late 18th century through the 1930s. Gypsum is a mineral compound also called sulphate of lime, which is usually found underground near limestone deposits. Raw gypsum is a pure white crystal called alabaster. When gypsum is heated, the resulting white powder is called burnt gypsum, also known as Plaster of Paris for the large gypsum deposit at Montmartre in Paris. Ordinary schoolroom chalk is also a form of burnt gypsum. Gypsum is easily cast into sculptures and decoration for frames, but is quite soft and breaks easily.
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