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Check Out This 300-Year-Old Guidebook to Every Conceivable Color


Most of us are aware how Pantone has DOMINATED the visible spectrum since dividing it into six-digit clot codes. However, a 300 year old color dictionary has been found. It is an amazing guide to painting with watercolors as it displays hundreds of varying colors that were mixed by hand by a mysterious Dutch artist.

The encyclopedic volume of color resembles what Pantone probably would have created in 1692.

There is very little information about the book except that it was authored by someone simply known as A. Boogert. The introduction at the beginning of the color collectionary suggests it was written as an instruction manual. Painted swatches illustrate the instructions that describe how to alter a color by adding “one, two or three portions of water.”

Dutch book historian Erik Kwakkel recently rediscovered Klaer lightende Spiegel der Verfkonst in the online archives of the Bibliothèque Méjanes in Aix-en-Provence, France. There’s only one recorded copy of the handwritten and handpainted book—thanks to the internet, its readership has probably grown exponentially after Kwakkel posted it on his blog.

The entire book is available here and its record here.

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