Color Perception: Werner's Nomenclature
February 1, 2018 5:26 PM   Subscribe

Werner's Nomenclature of Colours: a Pre-Photographic Guide for Artists and Naturalists is how colors were perceived and described in the 19th century.
posted by MovableBookLady (13 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
Awesome names...

“Egg of Thrush”

“Underside of Wing of Green Broom Moth”

“Beauty Spot on Wing of Teal Drake”

What we have since gained in precision, we have lost in poetry.
posted by darkstar at 5:33 PM on February 1, 2018 [5 favorites]

Also: gosh, nature is beautiful.
posted by darkstar at 5:36 PM on February 1, 2018

How splendid! And just in time, I need to name some colours and had no idea how I was going to do it - this will be a marvellous help.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 5:58 PM on February 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

That's pretty neat.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:35 PM on February 1, 2018

Well that's a welcome and refreshing change from BS5252 and other cold modern colour abstractions.
posted by unearthed at 12:49 AM on February 2, 2018

The actual color names are just things like "bluish green", "apple green", and "emerald green" -- "egg of thrush" etc. are in the column indicating what Darwin described using that color name.

It is a good inspiration, though!
posted by inconstant at 7:28 AM on February 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Is this the origin of the phrase "animal, vegetable, mineral"?

And wow, $15 is a steal compared to almost $200 for a set of Munsell swatches... first I'll need convince my colleagues that a 7.5YR 7/8 is actually Orpiment Orange.
posted by cosmologinaut at 9:04 AM on February 2, 2018

how colors were perceived and described in the 19th century

Apparently we perceive and describe colors in the 21st century using the USDA Frozen French Fry Standard.
posted by cosmologinaut at 9:11 AM on February 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

Jeez, $160 for that pamphlet on the standardization of colors of frozen french fries!

And I thought academic textbooks were a ripoff!

(Narrator: They are.)
posted by darkstar at 9:44 AM on February 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

I did pre-order a copy. I've always found natural and chemical colors fascinating!

(And thanks, inconstant, for the correction on how the names were used.)
posted by darkstar at 9:46 AM on February 2, 2018

Not to overly self-link, but our library has both the 1814 and the 1821 edition digitzed as well as Robert Ridgeway's Color Standards and Color Nomenclature, for all you color fanatics out there.
posted by teleri025 at 1:03 PM on February 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

Such a lovely book! My daily walk includes a man-made lake that is home to several ducks and geese and from this link, I learned that the blue stripe on a duck's wing is a known color value:

"Prussian Blue for instance could be located in the beauty spot of a mallard’s wing, on the stamina of a bluish-purple anemone, or in a piece of blue copper ore."

And lucky you, teleri025! I would love to see your library!
posted by Lynsey at 10:14 AM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh hey!!! If anyone’s interested in buying it, the price just dropped on Amazon from about $15 to $8.97!

I had put it in my cart but hadn’t pulled the trigger yet. Just saw today that the price had dropped by 40% and snagged it!

Don’t know how long the discount will last - good luck!
posted by darkstar at 3:50 PM on February 3, 2018

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