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19th century naturalist color guide

Started by Bill Gill, February 19, 2018, 06:20:20 AM

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Bill Gill

Smithsonian Books is republishing a spectacular guide to colors in nature by German mineralogist Abraham Gottlob Werner first devised in the late 18th century.
Here's a brief description from the website:
First published in the pre-photographic age, Werner's Nomenclature of Colours was the preeminent guide to color and its classification for artists, scientists, naturalists, and anthropologists in the 19th-century. Without an image for reference, the book provided immense handwritten detail describing where each specific shade could be found on an animal, plant, or mineral. 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.

You can read more and see sample pages here: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2018/01/werners-nomenclature-of-colours/
It's pretty cool!



tried to find it in Europe after I read the post and got my copy this week. Very detailed explanations and fascinating theme. Thanks for the tipp.

It is really pretty cool

outsourced teddy bear artist making hubbie´s rr greener


Bea is our newest member. She currently specializes in scenery for her husband's layout. Let's see whether she might someday extend that to include structures. -- Russ

shropshire lad

Quote from: finescalerr on February 04, 2021, 11:27:18 AM
Bea is our newest member. She currently specializes in scenery for her husband's layout. Let's see whether she might someday extend that to include structures. -- Russ

She sounds like she might be British , can you confirm this ? Never mind including structures in the future , we want to see her scenery now ( well , not this very minute , but some time soon) .

Nick , enjoying the view from the corner .

Ray Dunakin

Visit my website to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

Ray Dunakin's World


Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?
George Carlin


Wow cool, thanks for this...my wife(a botanist and evolutionary biologist) will love it!


Very interesting, Bill. Thanks for sharing. I found on the internet that the book is also available in German.



Hi all, thanks for the welcome.

I promise to post some pictures as soon as I have some quality ones of what I thought is already quite nice - until I joined this forum.
Other newbies might know what I mean - it is overwhelming.
There is not much daylight around in my free hours at the moment, but I hope to give it a try tomorrow, some snow promised which makes the light brighter.

No I am not british, Nick, (though some people that hear me talk say I sound a bit scotts, then again irish, might be a reward from my penpal´s parents who travelled around with me to see all the mothertongue grandparents being scottish and from Chelsea, living and raising the kids in Nottinghamshire, I spent weeks there so it is a real funny mixture. And yes, it is British English though, to excuse for some characteristic "typos").

My home is at the very western sticky outy of Germany, quite close to the dutch border and the most known bigger city might be Cologne.
So I am surrounded by flatlands with quite a green floral habitat because of a good amount of rain we usually get.

Now, off to the hills before the snow appears. cya soon, really looking forward to having a lot of exchange here.
outsourced teddy bear artist making hubbie´s rr greener

Bill Gill

Hi Bea, Welcome to the forum.
That was a surprise this morning to see a reply about this book. The original posting. (2018) hadn't caught any attention, but your comments triggered several!

I know fullwell what you mean about feeling overwhelmed here, but it's a great group.
Looking forward to seeing some of your scenery, it's an area I also enjoy and what prompted the posting of the info about the book in the first place.

SandiaPaul and Bernhard, Glad you found the book interesting.