New Book | Nature’s Palette

Posted in books by Editor on June 15, 2021

From Princeton UP:

Patrick Baty, with contributions by Elaine Charwat, Peter Davidson, André Karliczek, and Giulia Simonini, Nature’s Palette: A Color Reference System from the Natural World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021), 288 pages, ISBN: 978-0691217048 $40.

A gorgeous expanded edition of Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, a landmark reference book on color and its origins in nature.

First published in 1814, Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours is a taxonomically organized guide to color in the natural world. Compiled by German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner, the book was expanded and enhanced in 1821 by Patrick Syme, who added color swatches and further color descriptions, bringing the total number of classified hues to 110. The resulting resource has been invaluable not only to artists and designers but also to zoologists, botanists, mineralogists, anatomists, and explorers, including Charles Darwin on the famous voyage of the Beagle.

Nature’s Palette makes this remarkable volume available to today’s readers, and is now fully enhanced with new illustrations of all the animals, plants, and minerals Werner referenced alongside each color swatch. Readers can see ’tile red’ in a piece of porcelain jasper, the breast of a cock bullfinch, or a Shrubby Pimpernel. They can admire ‘Berlin blue’ on a piece of sapphire, the Hepatica flower, or the wing feathers of a jay. Interspersed throughout the book are lavish feature pages displaying cases of taxidermy, eggs, shells, feathers, minerals, and butterflies, with individual specimens cross-referenced to the core catalog.

Featuring contributions by leading natural history experts along with more than 1,000 color illustrations and eight gatefolds, Nature’s Palette is the ideal illustrated reference volume for visual artists, naturalists, and anyone who is captivated by color.

Patrick Baty is the author of The Anatomy of Colour and the owner of Papers and Paints, a specialist paint business in London. Elaine Charwat is a doctoral researcher at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Peter Davidson is senior curator of minerals at National Museums Scotland. André Karliczek is a member of the German Optical Museum and part of cultur3D, a project that models cultural assets in 3D. Giulia Simonini is a conservator, paleographer, and art historian.


A Colour Reference System From the Natural World

Introduction — Patrick Baty, The Origins, Development, and Influence of Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours

Whites, Greys, and Blacks
1  Peter Davidson, Werner’s Mineralogical System and How His Nomenclature of Colours Became Syme’s Colour Standard

Blues and Purples
2  Elaine Charwat, Colours in Zoology: Subjectivity or Systematic?

3  Giulia Simonini, Syme’s Colour Chart in Botany: Origin and Impact

Yellows and Oranges
4  André Karliczek, One for All? Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours as a General Standard of Colour and Its Particular Use in Medicine

Reds and Browns

Reference for the Contemporary Printer, Artist, and Decorator
Sources of Illustrations

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: