This beautiful little book, first published in 1814, reprinted by Smithsonian Books in 2018, is a wonder. Based on the work of Abraham Gottlob Werner, it is a book to be explored, more than read. It was designed to provide standardized descriptions and representations of color to be used across the arts and sciences. Honestly, I just love holding it in my hands. The brief explanatory text is followed by “COMPONENT PARTS of THE COLOURS”, which involves a brief description, followed by a sample of the color, and where it can be found in nature. For example –

44. Lavendar Purple, the lavendar blue of Werner, is composed of blue, red, and a little brown and gray. Found in – Animal – Light Parts of Spots on the under Wings of the Peacock Butterfly; Plant – Dried Lavendar Flowers; Mineral – Porcelain Jasper

72. Wine Yellow, is sulphur yellow mixed with reddish brown and gray, with much snow white. Found in – Animal – Body of Silk Moth; Plant – White Currants; Mineral – Saxen Topaz

Pure pleasure if one is into thinking about, dreaming about color.



7 comments on “More on Color – WERNER’S NOMENCLATURE OF COLOURS by P. Syme”

  1. You have told me you are a lover of color so this seems very fitting šŸ™‚ I am enjoying the colors of winter here in Calif – lots of green grass against gray sky.


    1. Ahhh, green is only a memory here. With the exception of the ponderosa and juniper, dark in this gray light, everything is dun or dusky gray.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Barbara, yes, yes, yes to color. And even though I am not a painter, by interaction with color is visceral. So great pleasure in this book. And, in looking over your friend’s work!


  2. What an absolutely lovely book. Love the two examples you gave us…and thank you for those. These connections make me want to go into a flurry of internet searching: peacock butterfly, porcelain jasper, silk moth, white currants, saxen topaz. I mean really–“the light parts of spots on the underwings?” Just to think of that.

    I think I found the same thing Barbara did at a different web address: Thanks, JNaz!


    1. Yes, this webiste is fabulous. I must admit to an almost physical fascination with color, so these descriptions just hum for me.


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