A Naturalist’s Color Palette, ca. 1686


From Richard Waller, "A Catalogue of Simple and Mixt Colours with a Specimen of Each Colour Prefixt Its Properties" Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, vol. 6, 1686/1687 (London, 1688)

Click to enlarge the color palette

“Noting the lack of a standard for colors in natural philosophy, and inspired by a similar table published in Stockholm, Richard Waller indicated that his “Table of Physiological Colors Both Mixt and Simple” would permit unambiguous descriptions of the colors of natural bodies. To describe a plant, for example, one could compare it to the chart and use the names found there to identify the colors of the bark, wood, leaves, etc. Similar applications of the information collected in the chart might also extend to the arts and trades, he suggested.”  –Jessica Palmer, Bioephemera Blog.

Click the link below to bring up Jessica Palmer, Bioephemera Blog.

A naturalist’s color palette, circa 1686 : bioephemera.

Read more about Waller’s color system in The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe by Sarah Lowengard.


Filed under Plants and Shrubs

6 responses to “A Naturalist’s Color Palette, ca. 1686

  1. I love this color palette. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  2. I agree – great find, Jack!

  3. This is fascinating…I’d love to have a large version of it framed.

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