This book is newly republished, and it truly is a fascinating guide into the world of colors, such as it is perceived and referred to by artists, naturalists, anthropologists and scientists. It has been published for the first time before the age of photography, and it quickly became a prestigious reference of colors because it offered bot a visual and a descriptive classification. The book of Abraham Gottlob Werner, German mineralogist in the 18th century, has been completed later on by the Scottish painter Patrick Syme, who rearranged to color classification in order to suite the modern times – the 19th century. For example, Werner had not created separate sections for certain colors, as Orange or Violet. Orange would have been a shade of Yellow, such as Violet would have been a shade of Blue, before Syme’s intervention. The book has been used by many researchers, like Charles Darwin, as is offered good color references for the description of the newly conquered worlds. The today’s edition shows the main color families, with complex text descriptions and with clear indication on where to find that specific color in nature. 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. Or Yellowish White, composed of snow white, with a very little lemon yellow and ash grey, could be located in the feathers of an Egret, in the blossom of Hawthorn or in a piece of chalk.
I’ve ordered the book out of curiosity, and going through its pages I’ve discovered a fantasy world that I’d never really knew, while working with colors. I have learned how to mix colors, and how to recreate a chromatic reality, but I never had the time to actually follow colors into their natural habitat. This is not a book to read, but to go through, for inspiration, a book that has the ability to transfer out imagination into a fantasy world, as it brings a scent of history, a little bit of mystery and a story that, for sure, is not known entirely. I’d say it could be the best present for anybody in love with colors, or nature. Or both.