Fuck Yeah 1692's Version Of Pantone!
May 7, 2014 3:33 PM   Subscribe

"In over 700 pages of handwritten Dutch, the author, who identifies himself as A. Boogert, describes how to make watercolour paints. He explains how to mix the colours and how to change their tone by adding “one, two or three portions of water”. To illustrate his point he fills each facing page with various shades of the colour in question. To top it he made an index of all the colours he described, which in itself is a feast to look at. In the 17th century, an age known as the Golden Age of Dutch Painting, this manual would have hit the right spot. It makes sense, then, that the author explains in the introduction that he wrote the book for educational purposes. Remarkably, because the manual is written by hand and therefore literally one of a kind, it did not get the “reach” among painters - or attention among modern art historians - it deserves." Erik Kwakkel, a medieval book historian in the Netherlands, spotted scans of the book in a French scholarly database and posted it to his blog a few days ago. posted by Room 641-A (10 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite
posted by R. Mutt at 4:38 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is really neat, but I have to admit my interest is tempered a bit by the facts that (a) I can barely make out any words in the text, (b) which makes me feel terrible about my attempts to learn (modern) Dutch, (c) and also god my handwriting is not beautiful AT ALL, (d) but at least it's legible? There are points for legible? Right?

No, but seriously, very neat find!
posted by sldownard at 6:21 PM on May 7, 2014

I can barely make out any words in the text

Try zooming in! It works really well and you should be able to read it with zoom to spare.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:38 PM on May 7, 2014

Try zooming in!

I think the problem is in deciphering the hand and not in making out the shapes of the letters.
posted by yoink at 7:09 PM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would so love for someone/something to take Pantone down. If only to usurp the annual "This Year's Colour Projections" crap. Unsure if #XXXXXX is patented (likely) but maybe this could be *KKKKKK (for Kwakkel).
posted by hobocode at 7:42 PM on May 7, 2014

Thanks for this. Somehow I missed it, despite following Erik's various (& wonderful) feeds. I have a very strong feeling (memory) that this is not a singular volume on colour swatches from that era. However, if my normal thinking abilities manifest true to form, I will remember/find where it is in about 13 fortnights' time. Or not. Thanks Room 641-A.
posted by peacay at 7:55 PM on May 7, 2014

I look forward to the time when imaging/printing software has a "Boogert" option.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:34 PM on May 7, 2014

I have a very strong feeling (memory) that this is not a singular volume on colour swatches from that era.

You may be thinking of the Mayerne Manuscript (British Library, Sloane MS 2052), one of the most important sources we have for the history of seventeenth-century art, including notes from Rubens and Van Dyck on how they mixed their paints. Sadly the manuscript isn't (yet) online, but here's a sample page showing a similar set of colour swatches. It's rumoured it may be featuring in the exhibition on Making Colour which opens at the National Gallery in London next month.
posted by verstegan at 2:37 AM on May 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Unsure if #XXXXXX is patented (likely)...

As a note, the six-digit hex color codes are not and cannot be patented. They are simply a hexadecimal representation of an RGB triplet, so that #000000 = (Red: 0, Blue: 0, Green: 0), #FFFFFF = (Red: 255, Blue: 255, Green: 255), #00AAFF = (Red: 0, Green: 170, Blue: 255), and so on.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:36 AM on May 8, 2014

Pantone books come with a 1 year expiration date.


Looks like mine expired aroud 1991. A year or two of pigment decomposition would only be noticeable in strict color control work. I think I'd toss it after 25 years though.

I mention this because the colors in the 1629 book have almost certainly shifted beyond recognition. Pigments weren't that good in the olden days, I don't think they even knew of a permanent red or magenta back then. But if the chemical formulas for the pigments are listed, they could probably reconstruct the colors, without having to do any destructive testing on removed pigment samples. There's a PhD thesis waiting to happen.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:41 PM on May 8, 2014

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