November 28, 1976
INTRODUCTION . . . . .
COLOR THEORY . . . . .
ORIGIN & CLASSIFICATION OF PIGMENTS . .
NOMENCLATURE OF COLORS . . .
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF COLOR TECHNOLOGY .
Pre-Historic Times . . .
From Early Times to the Fall of the Roman
Empire . . . . .
Middle Ages, Mediterranean Civilizations
Renaissance to thelndustrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution to the Present .
New Synthetic Pigments . . .
Historical Development of Pigments .
Synthetic Organic Pigments of Acceptable
Permanency . . . .
BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . .
From time immemorial men have been exposed to colors.
The colors found in nature have inspired men to create and
use colors. There is evidence that as early as 150,000 years
ago man was using colors. This fact has been documented by
an archeological discovery of bone tubes that carried grease
paint made from red and yellow ochre clays, undoubtedly used
for body painting.
Body painting is believed to be the earliest form of
color use. Primitive men used colors for religious as well
as magical purposes; for example, primitive men believed that
red was the color of life and other colors as well had symbolic
associations with natural forces and primitive Gods. Primitive
man also believed that if he painted an animal on a cave
wall he would capture the spirit of the animal and therefore
have a better chance to capture the animal itself. Thus, the
use of colors at its very beginnings was greatly associated
with religion and art, primitive art being a vehicle for
religious expression and color being one of the principal
vehicles of primitive art. Color and art have been associated
with each other from ancient times to the present, however,
today colors are used for many purposes other than art;
textiles, industry architecture, furniture making, cinema-
tography and even psychology have taken advantage of the use
of color, whether in the form of paints and dyes or in the
form of decomposition of white light,
The following report concerns itself with the historical
development of the processes for pigment preparation, that is,
this report deals with pigments and the way they were prepared
to be used as coloring agents at different periods of human
An introduction to basic color theory is necessary to
understand color perception as well as color technology.
Color is not a substance, but rather the result of selec-
tive or partial absorption or transmission of irregular or
scattered reflection, or of dispersion in refraction of white
light. Sunlight (white light) is made up of many rays of
varying vibrations; if the various rays that compose the sun-
light are broken up by means of a prism, we obtain an elongated
band of different colors called solar spectrum.
The solar spectrum or prismatic spectrum is made up of
a series of colors arranged in the same way as the rainbow.
The location of the colors in the prismatic spectrum depends
on the wavelength of the rays that make up the colors. For
example, colors of a shorter wavelength occur at one end of
the prismatic spectrum--these are the blues and indigo--then
as the wavelength of the rays increases the colors move to
the other end of the prismatic spectrum where red is the
final color. The colors of the spectrum blend into each other
and although we can name hundreds of different colors, we
can not distinguish such fine divisions with the eye, However,
we can distinguish up to seven regions in the prismatic spec-
trums, and they are: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo
Pigments are powdered substances used for the represen-
tation of colors, a pigment mixed with a medium constitutes a
paint. Pigments are only visible by reflected light, each
reflective pigment obtaining its color from the ray or rays
of light that are not absorbed and which are reflected back
from the surface. Thus, a body which absorbs the blues, yellow
and green rays of the spectrum and reflects the red rays will
appear to be red in color. Therefore, if we examine a red
object under a yellow light, it will appear dull because of
the small amount of red rays emitted by the yellow light that
is falling on the object.
If we mix blue pigment with a yellow pigment the result
would be a green color. The green produced by the admixture
of these pigments are due to absorbtion taking place in the
blue and yellow pigments respectively. It is the light which
escapes absorbtion by both pigments which gives the resultant
Artists have found that by skillfully using three color
pigments, red, yellow and blue, nearly all the hues or tones
of colors can be obtained, thus, these colors have been called
Primary Colors are colors that can not be reproduced by
admixture of other colors,
Secondary Colors are colors produced by admixture of two
Tertiary Colors are colors produced by admixture of two
PRIMARY COLORS red, yellow, blue
SECONDARY COLORS orange, green, violet
TERTIARY COLORS red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green,
blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet,
Origin and Classification of Pigments
PIGMENTS are obtained from the mineral, animal and vegetable
kingdoms and they are classified;
MINERAL PIGMENTS natural
ORGANIC PIGMENTS animal
Native pigments; this class comprises geniune Ultramarine,
the Ochres, Umbers, Siennas and other native earth. They re-
quire no preparation except for washing, grinding and in some
cases calcining; as a rule they are rather dull but they are
durable; also, they were the first employed in painting.
Artificial (Mineral pigments): These are prepared
either by the action of heat on the proper ingredients, or by
precipitation from aqueous solutions, that is, they are made
by either a wet or dry process.
I. Pigments made by the Dry Process
These are the Vermillions, Cadmiums and Mass Colours,
Artificial Ultramarine, Cobalt, Smalt, Venetian Red, etc.
These pigments obtained by the dry process as a rule are more
permanent than those obtained by the wet process.
II. Pigments made by the Wet Process
These are Aurelin, Chrome Yellows, Lemon Yellow, Pure
Scarlet, Emerald Greens, White Lead, etc.
Pigments Obtained from the Animal Kingdom: The cochineal
insects provide us with: Carmine, Crimson, Scarlet and Purple
Indian Yellow is obtained from the urine of a camel,
euxanthate of magnesium.
Gallstone is derived from a calculus which is formed
in the gall-bladder of oxen.
Sepia is obtained from the secretion of the Sepia
Officinalis a cuttle fish a sea mollusk,
Prussian Blue is obtained by fusing refuse animal
matter with impure potassium carbonate.
Pigments Obtained from the Vegetable Kingdom. These
are mostly Lakes.
A Lake is a pigment prepared by precipitating an
animal or vegetable colouring matter in combination with a
metallic base, usually alumina,
A Carmine when two or more lakes of different strength
are prepared from the same colouring matter, that lake which
contains the greatest proportion of colouring matter to
metallic oxide is termed a Carmine.
A Pink. Some lakes are erroniously called pinks --
Italian Pink and Brown Pink.
It has been shown that much vegetable colouring matter
exists in the plants, as glucosites; they are bodies that can
be decomposed by chemical agents or by the natural process of
fermentation into glucose and a colouring principal. Examples:
Indigo obtained from the leaves of the fera plant and
it is formed by fermentation of the glucosite Indicon.
Brown Pink is obtained from Persian and Avignon
berries glucoside rhamnin.
Yellow Lake and Italian Pink obtained from queratron
bark glucoside quercetrin
Olive Lake is made from the green ebony or laburnum.
Indian Lake and Gambage are prepared from residous
Madder Lakes are prepared from the madder root which
contains the glucoside rubion.
Nomenclature of Colors
The naming of colors doesn't follow any systematic
classification. Manufacturers and dealers have the habit of
calling a color pigment by names which are quite arbitrary.
Sometimes many colors are offered under one name whereas in
other cases many names apply to a single pigment. Many
colors are named after their inventor and others are named
after the material used in their production and still others
are named after the locality where they are found in nature.
However, the majority of color that is obtained from reliable
sources is sold by names more or less internationally recognized.
In doing a report on the historical development of the
preparation of pigments as coloring agents, one runs across
formidable problems. Most of the books and articles that are
available today on the subject of pigments deal primarily with
the chemical composition of the pigments, their physical pro-
perties and their various applications. Very little is said
about the various processes used to prepare the pigments.
This is partially due to the fact that most people today are
interested in the acutal use of pigments rather than in their
preparation. However, there are other problems that make it
difficult to write a report on the preparation of pigments,
for example, the nomenclature of colors is such that a name
used for a particular color which is prepared a certain way,
has changed with time and thus we have two different names
for a single color. The preparation processes for certain
pigments such as those pigments obtained from ochres, have
been the same since ancient times and the technology used
to produce these pigments changed only after the Industrial
Revolution; therefore, there are many processes that have
had very little change in terms of a historical perspective,
Also, there is the problem of historical and technological
gaps. For example, there were certain processes used during
the ancient times that were lost after the fall of the Roman
Empire and they reappear during the Renaissance, Finally,
many processes for the preparation of pigments were guarded
with great secrecy and even today modern paint manufacturers
do not patent their formulas so as to maintain them secrets.
In order to study the processes for the preparation of
pigments from a historical perspective, I have organized the
following report into a series of historical periods, from
pre-historic times to the present. I have listed the colors
used during these particular periods of history, the sources
used as pigments for the preparation of these colors and the
preparation process as well. I have tried to document those
processes of which there is reliable data available and I have
omitted in many cases those colors produced by admixtures of
various pigments since it is well known that most colors
can be obtained by admixture of the primary colors, red,
yellow and blue,
The last two sections of this report dealing with the
process for the preparation of pigments during the period
of the Industrial Revolution to the present and the develop-
ment of synthetic pigments, are covered in very general terms
due to the magnitude of the topic in question,
Historical Development of Color Technology
Chief Chemical Composition
It is believed that prehistoric men used color for body
painting, cave painting and for painting personal objects of
symbolic and utilitarian importance such as tools and weapons.
During pre-historic times, there was very little prepa-
ration of the pigments before their use with a binding medium.
Ochers were ground by rubbing them with stone and other various
tools while they were reduced to a powder form, then, the
pigments were mixed with animal fats which was the principal
binding media used during pre-historical times.
Early Time to the Fall of the Ancient Empires
artificial & admixture
Blue lapis lazuli
Black ivory black
Chief Chemical Composition
White chalk calcium carbonate
Brown ochers iron oxide
Red. Red pigments were the most widely used pigments
since Pre-dynastic times. Natural supplies of ochers and
cinnabar (native vermillion) were plentiful near the Aswon
and the oases of the Western Desert, Red pigments from Egypt
had a tremendous reputationand they were imported to Mesopo-
tamia, Palestine and Asia Minor. Red ochers and cinnabar, like
most other natural clays, followed a standard process of
grinding, washing and storing, prior to their mixture with the
binding media. The ancients used a stone pestle and a stone
mortar to gring the ocher stones and cinnabar clays into a
fine powder. After the pigments were ground, they would be
washed with clear water, placed in the sun to dry and finally
made into small cakes which would be stored in small bags until
the time of their usage.
Yellow. Yellow pigments were obtained from ochers and
the processes and tools used to prepare them are the same as
those used for red ochers. Briefly described, the process
involved grinding with a stone pestle and mortar, washing with
clear water and making the powdered pigments into small cakes.
Green. During ancient times, the color green was obtained
through three different methods, The most common way to obtain
green was by admixture of blue and yellow pigments.
Green was also obtained by the use of powdered Malochite,
a natural form of copper carbonate which was found in stones.
These stones were crushed with a mallet prior to being ground
with a stone pestle and mortar; the resulting powdery stuff
was then washed in water and dried in the sun. The dried
powder would then be mixed with a few drops of a binding media
and made into cakes which would be stored in small bags until
A green pigment was also made artificially by melting
sand, alkali and copper minerals. These substances were
crushed and ground into a fine powder which was placed into
clay pots and melted. The resulting compound was ground again,
made into cakes and stored in small bags until their usage.
Blue. Powdered lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone, was
the principal source of blue pigments during the ancient times.
The preparation of this pigment involved crushing the lapis
lazuli stones and grinding the resulting product with a stone
pestle and mortar into a fine powder. These powders would
then be washed in water, dried in the sun and made into small
cakes. The ancients had a hard time consistently grinding
the lapis lazuli into a fine powder, and consequently it was
thought of as a hard pigment to prepare.
An artificial blue pigment was developed to substitute
the powdered lapis; lazuli. The preparation of this artificial
pigment involved heating a powdered form of silica malichite
(a stone) and natron (also a stone) to a temperature of
approximately 830 C. However, this artificial pigment was
not as brilliant as the pigment derived from lapis lazuli,
thus, lapis lazuli remained as the favorite blue pigment.
Black. Black pigments were available in a considerable
variety, however, most black pigments were derived from
carbonaceous substances. Ivory black and bone black were
the most popular black pigments of the time and they were
prepared by identical processes, Ivory or animal bones were
calcinated in a fire; the resulting substances, calcium
carbonate or calcium phosphate, were crushed and then ground
into a fine powder. The powder would then be washed with clear
water, placed in the sun to dry, and mixed with a few drops
of binding media. Afterwards, the resulting mixture would be
made into small cakes and stored in bags until their usage.
White. White pigments were obtained from chalk, calcium
carbonate, and gypsum, calcium sulphate. These substances were
readily available in their natural form. Their preparation
involved the usual crushing, grinding, washing and storing--
very much the same way ochers and stone pigments were prepared.
Brown. Calcinated raw sienna and calcinated raw umber
were the primary sources for brown pigments during ancient
times. Raw sienna and raw umber are natural ochers found in
many areas of the ancient world. These clays were collected
in their natural state, ground into a fine powder and placed
in a clay pot where they would be calcinated until the desired
color was obtained. Later, the resulting substance would be
ground again, washed with clear water, placed in the sun to
dry and made into small cakes which would be stored in bags
until their usage.
Middle Ages Mediterranean Civilizations
Blue lapis lazuli
Black lamp black
White white lead
Chief Chemical Composition
oxide of lead
Red. During the middle ages red pigments were obtained
from three sources: red ochers, red loc and red lead.
The process used for preparing red ochers was the same
process as that used during ancient times. First, the ochers
would be ground in a stone slab or stone mortar with a stone
pestle, then the fine powder would be washed with clear water
and placed in the sun to dry. Later, the powder would be
stored in small bags or clay pots (unlike their ancient counter-
part, the artists from the Middle Ages did not make small cakes
with the powdered pigments).
Red loc was obtained from a resinous secretion found on
the branches of certain plants (this secretion was produced
by an insect, Contenia lacca), This secretion was ground,
mixed with a binding media and stored until usage.
Red lead was obtained by roasting white lead and
exposing it to air. White lead was obtained by storing long
lead plates in clay pots containing vinegar for a period of
3 to 4 months. After this period of time, a white deposit
would form (a mixture of carbonate and. acetate); this deposit
woudl be scraped off, finely ground and bailed.
Yellow. Yellow pigments were obtained from ochers,
organic pigments and gold.
The process for preparing yellow pigments from ochers
is the same process as the one used during ancient times;
grinding, washing and storing being essential operations for
the preparation of this pigment.
Yellow pigments obtained from organic materials such
as Persian berries, saffron and weld, were prepared by bailing
these organic materials in clear water so as to obtain a deep
yellow dye which would later be mixed with a metallic media
and boiled, thus forming a chemical compound which behaves as
Finely divided gold made by grinding gold leaf with
honey and salt was very popular as well as a very expensive
Green. Green pigments were obtained from Malachite
stones, organic substances and from copper.
The process for preparing green from Malochite stones
is the same as the process used by the ancients, grinding,
washing and storing being basic operations for this prepara-
Green pigments obtained from organic substances such
as buckhorn berries and iris flowers were prepared by crushing
these organic materials on a stone slab and collecting the
resulting juices in clay pots. These juices would later be
mixed with a metallic medium and boiled so as to obtain a
chemical compound that behaves as a pigment.
Green pigments obtained from copper were prepared by
either moistening copper plates with vinegar and exposing it
to air or by storing copper plate in clay pots with fermenting
grape skin. Both methods would produce a form of green copper
acetate on the outer surface of the copper plates which would
be scraped off, ground to a fine powder and stored in bags
Blue. Blue pigments were obtained from powdered lapis
lazuli or artificially from a compound of ores of cobalt,
alkali and sand. The process for preparing blue pigments from
lapis lazuli is the same as the process used during ancient
times, grinding washing and storing being basic operations
for this preparation,
Blue pigments were obtained artificially by heating ores
of cobalt with alkali and sand in a clay pot, the mixture and
fusion of these substances would separate into an upper layer
of blue cobalt silicate and a lower layer of metallic silicate
The cobalt silicate would be extracted from the pot and
ground into a fine powder which would then be washed and
placed in the sun to dry. Later it would be stored in bags
until their usage.
An artificial blue pigment was also obtained by mixing
copper compounds with amonia (stale urine), This mixture
would yield a deep blue solution which would later be mixed
with a metallic media resulting in a compound that behaves
as a pigment,
Black. During the Middle Ages black pigments were
obtained from lamp black, charcoal black and bone black.
Lamp black was obtained by burning various oil waxes
and resins and collecting the soot on suitable surface (it
did not need any further preparation).
Charcoal black was obtained by heating various plant
materials in earthen pots and grinding the resultant substances
into a fine powder which would then be washed in clear water,
placed in the sun to dry and stored until usage.
Bone black was made by calcinated animal bones, the
resulting calcium carbonate would then be crushed and ground
into a fine powder which would later be washed, placed in the
sun to dry, mixed with a binding media and stored until usage.
White. White pigments were obtained from white lead,
chalk and gypsum lime.
White lead was prepared by storing lead plates in pots
containing vinegar for a period of three to four months. A
white deposit of carbonate and acetate would appear on the
surface of the lead plates which would then be scrapped off,
ground to a fine powder and bailed (it did not need any further
The process for making white pigments from chalk and
gypsum lime is the same process as that used during ancient
times; grinding, washing and storing being basic operations
for the preparation of these pigments,
Brown. Calcinated raw sienna and calcinated raw umber
were the primary sources for brown pigments during the Middle
Ages. The preparation of these pigments followed the same
process as that used during ancient times. Brown was not one
of the favorite colors during the Middle Ages,
Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution
Black lamp black
White white lead
Chief Chemical Composition
oxide of lead
sulphite of arsenic
oxide of lead
Working up a color: Method of Preparing Pigments by Cennini
Take a slab or red porphyny (a very strong and solid
red stone) and get a stone to hold in your hand also made out
of porphyny which is flat on the bottom and round on top.
Take the raw material approximately the size of a nut
and place it in th-e stone slab and crush it with the stone
you have in your hand.
Take some clear river, fountain or well water and grind
the pigment for a period of one half hour minimum or for as
long as you like. The more you grind it the better it would
get. Then with a wooden spatula, scape the slab stone and
place the powder in a jar. Fill the jar with water and prevent
it from being contaminated.
Red. Red pigments were obtainedfrom sineoper, cinabrese,
vermillion, red lead, hematte and loc,
Sinoper red was prepared from a red Egyptian stone
called porphyny. This stone would be worked up according to
the method outlined by Cennini,
Cinabrese red was obtained from a mixture of sineoper
red and white lime worked up together according to the method
outlined by Cennini.
Vermillion red (a natural clay) was obtained by working
it up according to the method outlined by Cennini.
Red lead was obtained by roasting white lead and expos-
ing it to air and white lead was obtained by storing long lead
plates in clay pots containing vinegar for a period of 3 to 4
months. After this period of time, a white deposit would form
(a mixture of carbonate and acetate). This deposit would be
scraped off and worked up according to the method outlined by
Hemattic red obtained by a form of ferric oxide which
occurs in various forms, amorphous or crystalline, when in a
solid state, hematte is a very strong and solid stone.
Cennini recommends that when solid state, this stone should
be crushed in a bronze morter before working it up.
Red loc was obtained from a resinous secretion found
in the branches of certain plants (this secretion was produced
by an insect, Conteria locca), This secretion was ground,
mixed with a binding media and stored until its usage,
Yellow. Yellow pigments were obtained from ochers,
gaillorino, orpiment, saffron and arzica.
Yellow pigments obtained from ochers were worked up
according to the methods outlined by Cennini.
Gaillorino is a mineral found in a solid state in
areas common to volcanic activity. Cennini recommends that
this stone should be crushed first before working it up.
Yellow pigments obtained from orpiment sulphidee of
arsenic produced through alchemy) were mixed with pieces of
broken glass and worked up according to the methods outlined
Yellow saffron and yellow arzica were yellow pigments
obtained from herbs and prepared by placing these herbs
(saffron and weld) on a linen cloth over hot stones or bricks
and crushing the herbs with a stone pestle to obtain deep
yellow solution that when mixed with a metallic media would
behave as a pigment.
Green. Green pigments were obtained by alchemy
(Verdignis), green malachite and by admixture.
Verdignes was produced by storing copper plates in
earthen pots containing vinegar (for an undetermined period
of time). A green substance would form on the outside of the
copper plates which would be scraped off and worked up
(using vinegar instead of water) according to the method
outlined by Cennini.
Green malachite was obtained from working up malochite
stones according to the method outlined by Cennini. In work-
ing up the malachite stones Cennini recommends not to grind
this particular stone as much as you would other stones for it
loses some of its brilliancy when ground too finely,
A popular method of obtaining green was by admixture of
yellow orpiment and indigo pigments. Cennini recommends
two parts of orpiment per 1 part of indigo worked up together,
Blue. Blue pigments were obtained from azurite, lapis
lazuli and by admixture.
Blue azurite was obtained by working up azurite stones
(volcanic rocks) according to the method outlined by Cennini.
Blue lapiz lazuli was obtained by working up lapiz
lazuli (a semi-precious stone) according to the method
outlined by Cennini.
A popular method of obtaining blue was by admixture of
Bagdad Indigo and white lead pigments. No specific proportions
are given by Cennini.
Black. Black pigments were obtained from lamp black
and charcoal black.
Lamp black was obtained by lighting a lamp filled with
linseed oil and placing a clean baking dish two or three
fingers away from the flame of the lamp so as to collect the
soot produced by the burning oil. This soot was very fine
and it did not need to be worked up.
Charcoal black was obtained by burning twigs and working
up the resultant material according to the method outlined
White. White pigments were obtained from white lead
The process for preparing white lead is the same process
as that used during the Middle Ages, White lead was prepared
by storing lead plates into pots containing vinegar for a
period of three to four months; a white deposit of carbonate
and acetate would appear on the surface of the lead plates which
would then be scraped off and worked up according to the method
outlined by Cennini.
Lime is found in a natural state in many parts of the
world, Cennini recommends to work up the lime into a powder
form and placing it in a pail with clear water for eight days
(changing the water each day). After eight days, the lime
powder should be made into small cakes and placed in the sun
to dry; the longer they are exposed to the sun, the better
pigment they will make.
Brown, Brown pigments were obtained from ochers.
Ochers are to be worked up according to the method
outlined by Cennini.
Industrial Revolution to the Present
Red red lead
Yellow American yellow ocher
French yellow ocher
yellow iron oxide
Green chrome green
hydrated chrome oxide
Blue ultramarine blue
artificial cobalt blue
Black lamp black
White lead sulphate
sublimed white lead
Brown American burnt sienna
Italian burnt sienna
raw and burnt umber
Industrial Revolution to the Present
With the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the
paint industry as well as many other industries of the time,
were greatly affected by the introduction of mechanization
processes of production.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution pigments and vehicles
were sold separately and from different sources. In order to
obtain a paint, the prospective painter had to prepare the
pigments and mix them with the binding vehicle himself. How-
ever, in 1956 Sherwin and Williams introduced to the market
the first prepared paints, This event had a profound impact
on the technology and manufacture of paints, consequently,
it greatly affected the technology and preparation of pigments
With the ability to obtain paints as a manufactured
product rather than just a series of ingredients, consumer
demand for paints increased tremendously since anyone, regard-
less of their knowledge of pigments or paint technology,
would now buy paints as a product and apply them.
Greater consumer demand resulted in an increase in the
production and manufacture of paints. The paint industry
took advantage of mechanization and new technologies developed
during the Industrial Revolution to increase production and
maximize efficiency. Naturally, the processes for the prepa-
ration of pigments were greatly affected by the uses of new
technologies. The bronze mortar and pestle once used for
grinding pigments were replaced by stone and pebble mills.
These were large cylindrical containers of a rugged construc-
tion which would turn mechanically, first by power generated
from animals and later by steam. These cylinders were half
full with stones or pebbles and the raw materials would be
placed inside these cylinders, and as the cylinders turned,
the stones or pebbles would ground the raw materials into a
paste which would later be filtered out of the cylinders and
mixed with a binding media by a mechanical process.
From the time of the Industrial Revolution to the
present, the manufacture and production of paints as well as
the preparation processes of. pigments, have advanced from a
trade to a science. New advances in chemistry, engineering
and manufacturing methods have resulted in new processes for
pigment preparation which involves extremely sophisticated
equipment. Today, raw materials used in the preparation of
pigments are tested for inequities and constancy prior to any
further processing. With better understanding of the chemical
composition of the materials used for pigment preparation and
their reaction to other elements, specific machinery has been
designed to take advantage of the physical properties of these
materials and consequently produce the finest pigments.
Temperature controlled furnaces and variable speed electric
mills are now used for the preparation of pigments. This type
of scientific approach to the preparation of pigments has
allowed the paint manufacturing companies to consistently
produce paints of a the same color and tone as well as to
improve the permanancy and brilliancy of the paint products.
It is virtually impossible to describe in detail all
the various processes that are now in use for the preparation
of pigments. These processes have become very specialized
and some of them are guarded with great secrecy by the manu-
In general, the modern preparation of pigments involves
chemically testing the raw materials used to make the pigments,
grinding these raw materials in an electrically controlled
mill and mixing the resulting paste with the binding media
by mechanical means. Some processes require that the raw
materials be ground with the binding media and other processes
require that it be calcinated in temperature controlled furnaces
before it is ground or mixed with the binding media.
The following is a list of common pigments used today.
For further information on the preparation of these individual
pigments, consult the following book; Chemistry and Technology
of Paint by Maximillian Foch on reserve at the University of
The following passages dealing with. new synthetic pig-
ments are taken from the book Painting with Synthetic Media
by Russell 0. Woody, Jr.
The New Synthetic Pigments
Few artists perhaps realize what a range of great antiquity
and recent modernity they have in the colors with which they
paint and which they regard as a traditional palette, Of
the twenty-two pigments most generally used, about half
(Flake White, Ivory Black, Naples Yellow, and seven Earth
and Iron Oxide colors) go back to the Renaissance and before.
Zinc White, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarian Crimson, Cadmium
Yellow, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Viridian, and Prussian
Blue date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is
since the beginning of the twentieth century that Titanium
White, Cadmium Red, and Phthalocyanine Blue and Green were
discovered. None of the colors now used, with the exception
of the naturally occurring prototypes of Alizarin and Ultra-
marine, were at the disposal of the masters of the fifteenth,
sixteenth, or seventeenth centuries.
The great masters had to know their mediums intimately
in order to develop the maximum in chromatic power from their
limited choice of colors and also to preserve as best they
could colors deficient in stability. Conversely, some of
the reason for loss of interest in the technology of handling
various forms of oils and resin oil varnishes was that bril-
liant color could be obtained with the new bright pigments
without resort to many of the time-honored technical devices,
The colored clays--Sienna, Umber, Ochre, Green Earth,
and Red Oxides--have always been available in many places
around the globe from prehistoric times. Man learned early
to roast sienas and umbers to develop the rich Burnt Siena
and Burnt Umber. As far back as the Egyptians he also had
fairly rich colored ores: blue from Azurite and green from
Malachite (both copper ores), yellow from Orpiment (arsenic
ore), bright red from Vermilion (Cinnabar-mercury ore), and
a deep, rich red from the Madder root, from which the color
was extracted and fixed on clay to make Madder Lake. The
famed Lapis Lazuli source of natural Ultramarine Blue was not
developed until the fifteenth century into its really useful
form. It was then that this semi-precious jewel (mined in
Afghanistan and imported through Venice) began to be refined
in Europe to extract the pure colored fraction. This blue was
so expensive that it was used only on contract and specified
by rich patrons.
Until early in the eighteenth century the artist's
palette was limited to the colors of antiquity listed above,
plus Naples Yellow, a lead-antimony compound; Massicot or
Litharge, yellow lead oxide; several vegetable and animal
source colors such as Carmine; and ground blue glass, Smalt.
The first truly synthetic, man-made pigment was Prussian
Blue, discovered by Diesback in 1704, The development of Co-
balt Blue in 1802, artificially made Ultramarine Blue in 1824,
and of Viridian in 1838, changed the situation entirely in
blues and greens. The mineral colors Azurite and Malachite,
which had become scarce and costly, could be abandoned, and
the painter could rely on man's own resources. The new pig-
ments were also more suitable for oil painting, the mineral
pigments having performed best in the lean tempera film
where they were originally used. The chromatic range was also
bolstered by the appearance of Cadmium Yellow in this period.
Things became even more exciting when William Perkin
initiated the. epoch of synthetic organic pigments with the
dyestuff Mauve in 1856. Most of the chemicals used to make
this and other such colors that followed were based on products
of the destructive distillation of coal, and hence were called
"coal tar" or "aniline" colors, Unfortunately these early
organic colors were mostly lacking in lightfastness or per-
manence. However, artists took them up with enthusiasm and
disaster followed. It was in this way that the stigma of
"aniline," "coal tar," or "dye" colors arose to designate
dangerous colors deficient in the permanency requisite for
serious painting. Indeed most of those developed in the nine-
teenth century were deficient; but among those that appeared
at an early date was the exact synthetically made reproduction
of Madder--Alizarin, same as the natural material, but more
pure. We were at least doing as well as nature and a bit
Although the naturally occurring mineral colors were
quite stable, similar ones made artificially occasionally were
not. Verdigrin, used over quite a period, was not only
tricky but poisonous. Ultramarine could go "sick" (turn gray)
in time in the wrong kind of oil film. Under conditions more
rigorous than those a protected painting enjoys, what is
regarded as "completely permanent" does not necessarily hold
up. Given strong enough sunlight, everything eventually
breaks down to its basic, simplest, most stable form. So-
called "mineral" or inorganic pigments with the exception of
the simplest oxides and silicates (earths) will do this in
time as well as the organic colors (defined as compounds of
carbon). Like everything else on this earth, color permanency
is a relative thing and dependent on environment.
The New Era
Two of our most used mineral type colors, Cadmium Red
and Titanium White, along with minor synthetic mineral pig-
ments like Manganese Blue and Manganese Violet, date from
1900. But the turning point in color chemistry, the important
beginning of the modern epoch, has occurred in the last gene-
ration. This was the discovery of the Phthalocyanines in
1928 and their appearance as well developed, commercially
available pigments in 1935,
Phthalocyanine Colors. Phthalocyanine blues and greens
are organic pigments, complex and of large molecular size, but
so symmetrical and tightly knit in their structure that they
rival the best in mineral pigments in light resistance and
stability under the most stringent and adverse conditions,
They set a standard of perfection that gave exciting new impetus
to color research and development, In the sum total of their
useful qualities, intensive research has not improved on the
Phthalocyanines for the blue and green range in the thirty-five
Vat Dye Colors. Most of the valuable results arising
from the reassessment of approach and methods in developing
brilliant, highly lightfast pigments have occurred in the last
ten years. We have possessed for some time certain textile
"vat" dyes of phenomenal permanency, some so lightfast that
they outlast the fabrics they color. But the form of a color
that dyes cloth is not usually the form useful as a pigment.
A pigment to be used in paint must be insoluble and of such
a physical nature as to form fine, brilliantly reflective
color particles. A vat dye is formed in the fiber of the
cloth. To transform such materials to usable pigments has been
So far a few colors from the vat dye fields have come
within the artist's reach. These include the more recent
Thioindigo Violets, Indo (Perinone) Orange, and Dioxazine
Purple. The latter, chemically known as Carbozole Dioxazine,
is a deep blue violet of exceptional strength and is a valuable
and unique addition in this part of the chromatic range.
Quniacridone Colors. A new class of pigments, initially
worked on in Germany but brought to practical fruition by the
DuPont Company, is the Quinacridone group that appeared in
1958. The first of these were in the blue-red to violet range
and are in the Phthalocyanine class for lightfastness, Since
then other variations have become available, reaching down
into the middle red and one blossoming into a brilliant
Magenta hue. Manufacturers of artist colors were not slow in
including various of these Quniacridones in their lines,
appearing under such trade names as Acra, Monstral, and
Shivastra, and with the particular company name designation.
To insure that any such proprietary named color is actually
a Quinacridone, the artist should look to see that it is
subtitled "Quinacridone" under the color name and that it is
specified as "Linear Quinacridone," its full descriptive name,
in a statement of pigment composition.
Azo Colors. By far the most numerous general class of
bright organic colors in general industrial use is the Azo
group. This includes most of the bright reds and yellows used
in printing inks and ordinary paints. One dependable pigment
class in this Azo category is the Hansa group, used for some
years now by artists as a dependable color. But most Azos
were not this reliable and it is in the Azos that the greatest
number of improved pigments has come in the last ten years.
By reexamining methods of synthesis and devising whole
new ways of putting these complicated chemical molecules to-
gether, color chemists have found ways to increase the molecular
weight from the 600 region to around 1500, Many of these are
doubled molecules, connecting together two of what could
previously only be made as one molecule, Hence the name
"Diazo" colors, also called Azo Condensation products.
In many cases, the making of much larger and balanced
chemical units has made for more stable colors, both chemically
and in light resistance. To give an idea of how much effort
color manufacturers have put into such a search, over 10,000
different Azo compounds have been synthesized and tested in
the last ten years. Gaertner, in his paper mentioned below,
lists twenty-three greatly improved, or "high grade," Azo
Two very thorough and excellent surveys of these new
synthetic pigments have been published: "Exposure Studies
of Organic Pigments in Paint Systems," by Vincent C. Vesce,
Official Digest, December 1959, Vol. 31, No. 419; and "Modern
Chemistry of Organic Pigments," by H. Gaertner, Journal of the
Oil and Colour Chemists' Association, 1963, No. 1, 13-44.
Both authors are leading color research chemists, Vesce in the
United States, Gaertner in Switzerland. Most of the data on
new synthetic pigments in this chapter is from these two sources
and from the testing done in artists' media by the research
laboratory of Permanent Pigments Inc.
Before discussing and examining the individual colors,
it would be well to consider some of the general physical prop-
erties of synthetic organic pigments and how they adapt to
artists' media and use. As was previously mentioned, people
have the idea that organic colors are still "coal tar" or
"aniline" colors, meaning unstable and unreliable materials.
These terms are utterly obsolete and should be complete for-
gotten. There are organic colors or pigments that are not
resistant to light but are very brilliant and used for print-
ing inks and other purposes that do not require sustained
resistance to sunlight, There are also many that are good
enough for ordinary paints when they are not diluted to tints.
As tints such colors may last only a few weeks. But there are
the new synthetic pigments which we have been discussing in
a general manner here and which. will be examined in detail
following, that are in the same category of reliability as
some of the best "traditional" colors such as Cadmiums and
Viridian. So, although it had a legitimate basis up to a
generation or so ago, the stigmatic appelation of "coal tar"
and "aniline" color is completely out of date, now just an
"old wive's tale."
Texture. Most mineral type pigments such as earth colors,
cadmiums, Cobalt Blue, and whites are rather dense, substantial
feeling materials that require relatively little medium to
make a workable paint. Pure organic pigments, on the other
hand, are light anf fluffy, require considerable binder to wet
the small particles and to provide the additional fluid to
surround them and make a flowing paint. The artist is familiar
with this characteristic in Alizarin Crimson,
Tinctorial Strength. On the other hand, these organic
toners (the pure color) are usually many times as strong
tinctorially and can be diluted much further without losing
strength than such colors as Cadmium, For example, in order
to compare Cadmium Red with organic toner reds for exposure
tests, five times as much Cadmium had to be used with the
same amount of Titanium to produce a tint strength at all
comparable with the organic reds.
Inert Additives, In oil color such a pure organic
pigment ground with oil only does not have desirable qualities
for a good paint film because of the high ratio of oil to
pigment. A soft film that can show excess yellowing and even
wrinkling may result--one that is far too "fat," It is
actually desirable to include a proportion of dense, colorless,
inert mineral pigment to make a good paint, For this purpose
a paint manufacturer would use synthetically made Barium
Sulfate, known as Blanc Fixe in the trade. Artists can use
whiting or clays but these are inferior additives in an oil
film. A grind of straight organic color in oil may be 60 to 70
per cent oil. Use of a moderate amount of Blanc Fixe will not
perceptibly reduce the strength of the color and will bring
the oil content down to a normal 25 per cent as in a Cadmium
grind. In this way excessively "fat" and "lean" paints would
not be mixed in painting with resulting poor paint film
In synthetic media, such as the acrylic emulsion, pure
synthetic organic colors need no inert pigment additions
because here there is no problem of excess binder. The only
limit is having the minimum amount of the binding vehicle
sufficient to completely "wet" the pigment particles and com-
pletely surround them to make a coherent and flexible paint
film. One can get too "lean," but not too "fat." There are
virtually no problems in formulative proportions or in proce-
dural rules during painting with synthetic mediums.
Opacity. In the matter of opacity, the ability of the
paint to completely hide or obscure the color beneath, synthetic
organic pigments do present some problems since they are in-
herently transparent. This means that when finely ground
and with great excess of medium, as in a glaze, the color will
be as clear throughout as stained glass. Even with such trans-
parent colors, as the concentration of pigment becomes greater,
the opacity or hiding power increases.
A reasonable degree of opacity with these pigments is
easier to achieve in an oil grind since here greater concen-
tration of pigment can be attained. The artist is actually
used to quite a variance in opacity in his normal oil paints.
For example, Cadmium Red hides even in a thinly brushed film,
Cadmium Yellow shows a little through from underneath, Viri-
dean requires a thickly brushed coating to cover, and Alizarin
Crimson is almost transparent, hardly covering at all.
By comparison, the synthetic organic pigments usually
are more opaque than Alizarin but not quite as much as
Cadmium Yellow, Hansa Yellow, one of these synthetic organic
pigments, has been common in oil color lines for some time and
its opacity is characteristic of the stronger pigments we are
discussing here. As the hue deepens, as with Phthalocyanine
Blue and Green, the ability to hide becomes greater. Carbazole
Dioxazine (Dioxazine Purple) is so strong that it is highly
opaque as a straight color although it is transparent when very
In the synthetic mediums the organic pigments can be
concentrated to the point of semi-opacity, There is no
necessity of adding inerts because a tough film is formed at
all pigment concentrations. Since one can overpaint in almost
a matter of minutes with synthetic mediums and thick coatings
present no hazard for lasting properties, inadequate opacity
can be corrected by additional coats,
One of the greatest advantages of the beautiful and
brilliant chromatic values of the synthetic organic colors
is that in synthetic mediums the transparency can yield
unequalled glazes. When color is thinned with medium to a
completely transparent state, light penetrates down into the
layers of glazes and is reflected back with exceptional bril-
liance. By varying both the concentration of the color and
the thickness of the glazes, the artist has complete control
of his color effects.
Grinding Organic Toners
In trying to grind his own colors with synthetic organic
pigments the artist has a real problem. The fine particles
of pigment are very difficult to "wet," the agglomerates (lumps
of stuck-together particles) almost impossible to break up
by hand. Paint mixing and grinding machinery, plus the proper
additives (which can be specific for each pigment) for wetting
and for emulsion stability, are virtually mandatory for making
a good paint. Besides, the artist will find it difficult, if
not impossible, at the present time to obtain these colors in
the dry form. By the pound many are extremely expensive and
are literally so messy to handle, being extremely strong and
tending to fly into the air, that artists' material suppliers
will not want to pack them in small containers, Being new,
many are covered by patents and made only by one or a few
licensed pigment manufacturers and are available only to the
industrial paint maker.
Why New Colors are Important
Why should the artist be concerned with more colors
when he has a fairly adequate palette now? (After all, there
are fifty to one hundred colors listed in oil color lines.)
There are several reasons:
First, the colors we have been using are simply the
best we have had up to now, Many are used mostly because of
habit, not because there are not better ones both in chromatic
value and reliability. Manufacturers know this, but they are
stuck with the past list their artist users continue to demand
Second, many of the new synthetic pigments will broaden
and enhance the chromatic range, particularly where glazes and
transparent use are required in new techniques made possible
by the synthetic mediums.
Third, it may shortly become urgent to replace tradi-
tional colors. Synthetic organic pigments can be made in
limitless quantities because the organic chemicals from which
they derive can be synthesized from a wide variety of raw
materials abundant everywhere. Pigments that depend on a
limited supply of metal ore can go the same way as the natural
ore colors Azurite and Malachite which eventually became scarce
and expensive. Such a situation is developing now with the
Cadmium Yellows and Reds. Cadmium metal is only found as a
minor fraction in certain lead and zinc ores. Hence our
supply of Cadmium is entirely dependent on how much lead and
zinc are being mined and from which mines. When a new use
for Cadmium develops, such as the recent Nickel-Cadmium
rechargeable batteries, the demand becomes greater than the
supply. In 1963 ten million pounds of Cadmium were produced
and twelve millions used, the extra coming from a Government
stockpile. The result was a 66 per cent increase in metal
cost and four increases in pigment cost during the year plus
constantly threatened material shortage. So it is well to
investigate other bright yellows and reds and have them
established as replacements.
Economy is a fourth compelling reason. Although very
few of the reliable synthetic organic pigments are really
cheap and many are very expensive, most are quite strong and
need be used in much lower concentration in the grind than
mineral type pigments. In the most concentrated grind, the
net volume of organic pigment that can be included is one-
fourth of that possible with Cadmium pigment (closer to one-
eighth by weight) and the organic pigment grind will be
stronger. As a result the most expensive synthetic organic
pigments, costing five to ten times as much per pound as
Cadmium Reds can be offered as a finished paint in the same
current price range. By diluting the grind to "normal" strength
for practical use, even economy price colors of high quality
and permanence can be offered,
Permanency, the ability of a color to last for centuries
without change, is a primary requirement to the fine artist.
A discussion of testing for permanency, for resistance to
fading, is given at the end of this chapter. The drastic
methods used for accelerated testing make permanency or
lightfastness a relative matter in all but the simplest end
product materials. What is meant by "end product" are the
metal oxides and silicates (whites, earth colors, Cobalt and
Cerulean blues, Chromium Oxide green, Venetian Red, Mars
colors, etc.) that are at the end of the line for chemical
reaction, are down to the simplest result of decomposition.
Cadmium sulfides (yellow) can oxidize to colorless cadmium
sulfate. Viridian, which holds combined water, can lose that
water under conditions of accelerated testing and its color
Let us first look at the results of actual sunlight
exposure tests. On these test panels the color pigment is
reduced with fifty times as much Titanium White pigment by
volume in the case of the "63-" series. Total exposure was
600 hours summer sunlight under single thickness glass at a
forty-five degree angle to the vertical, facing south. The
upper two-thirds of the color was covered by two separate
pieces, the bottom third being left exposed. After 300 hours
the lower (middle) cover was removed and exposure continued
for another 300 hours in sunlight, Thus the lower third was
exposed 600 hours, the middle 300 hours, while the upper
third had no sun exposure. In this way direct comparison can
The 57-C and 57-W panels are from a 1957 exposure series
and show 600 hours exposure on the lower half of the color
stripe, 300 hours on the upper half, The 57-V-20 was a 1957
test formulation but exposed with the 1963 panels to correlate
the degree of fading. In the 63-L-25 and 57-V-20 panels we
have controls to relate the exposure to other tests at other
times by comparison of the fading of Alizarin Crimson each
time and to the other panels.
Fading results on pigments in accelerated tests will
vary with the medium for several reasons, If the pigment
is one susceptible to oxidation in oil paint the effect of
the oxidation of the disintegrating oil film will cause
greater fading to show than when the pigment is in an acrylic
film under the same exaggerated conditions. The kind of
white, whether Zinc or Titanium, the rigors of widely chang-
ing temperatures and humidity, are also major factors. It
is these extraordinary envirnomental conditions, rather than
any protective value the binder has, that will cause color
fading of different rates between one medium and another and
one test and another.
In making an exposure test, it is necessary always to
have a "control" panel, a standard duplicate used in all the
tests in order to compare these variations. The amount of
fading will fall within a limited range and we can judge,
consequently, what the general category is to which a pigment
belongs--whether it is in the same range as Cadmium or
Viridian or whether it justifies rejection as being no better
than Alizarin (Madder Lake).
Minor fading in an accelerated test, as will be dis-
cussed later, does not mean that a pigment will show fading
under the normal conditions to which a painting is exposed.
There is no actual relation other than if it will stand as
much abuse as well known permanent colors, it can reasonably
be expected to perform as well under normal conditions.
Terminology Used in Listing Pigments
So the reader will know what the degree of permanency
is that these new pigments exhibit in accelerated testing,
we will relate them to the change showed by familiar colors.
These are ranges, rather than the precise values actually
measured, since fading varies with the conditions and the test.
Permanency Group (A) -- in a class with Cadmiums, Viridian,
and Phthalocyanine Blue and Green.
Permanency Group (B) -- more change than (A) and in the Hansa
Yellow range. About three times as good as Alizarin,
Permanency Group (C) -- range between (B) and Alizarin.
Where results vary between one group and the next in
different tests the classification is given as A/B or B/C.
These classifications are factual, taken from actual tests,
not a matter of "opinion" as has often been the case with past
listings of permanency.
The source of information on the permanency data is
indicated as follows:
P Permanent Pigments exposure test studies,
V Exposure test data given by Vesce.
G Listed by Gaertner.
M Pigment manufacturer's data,
The paint binder or vehicle used in the tests are
abbreviated as follows:
a acrylic polymer emulsion binder.
o oil color.
Next in importance to the reliability of the pigment
itself is the ability of the artist to identify it on the
manufacturer's label. Obviously with these complex organic
pigments the proper names are too long, too unpronouncable,
to be used for label names. Without a guaranteed statement
statement of composition somewhere on the label, however,
the artist cannot be certain what the pigment is. We suggest
that the simplest way to identify the pigment is the case of
these synthetic organic pigments is to use what is known as
the Color Index Name, at least in the statement of composition.
This suggestion is made here for the first time and it will,
if followed, take years to accomplish as common practice in
The Color Index Name is given a new color by The Textile
Institute after the identity is disclosed and the reliable
commercial use has been established. The Color Index Name
is individual and specific for each particular kind of pigment.
There is also a Color Index Number but this usually has five
digits and would be more confusing and difficult to identify.
An example of a Color Index Name is Pigment Red 83 for Alizarin
Names used by pigment manufactures are frequently wholly
proprietary and provide no indication as to the identity of
the pigment. In the following listing we use the specific
chemical name where possible, otherwise the most used trade
designation. Even here the Color Index Name is necessary for
positive identification, although in some cases, as with those
Linear Quinacridones pioneered by DuPont, there is not yet a
Color Index Name available.
Historical Development of Pigments
F F B FLAKE WHITE Basic carbonate Greece A A Sensitive to sulphur fumes
LEAD WHITE of lead Rome when unvarnished. Slight
CREMNITZ WHITE Ancient yellowing in oil. Poisonous
A A ZINC WHITE Zinc oxide France C B Stays cold white. Excellent
CHINESE WHITE 1934 in water techniques.
A A A TITANIUM WHITE Titanium dioxide U.S.A. C B Soft film in oils. Good in
1920 water techniques. Much im-
proved since early manufac-
B B LITHOPONE Barium sulphate England C B Sometimes turns gray in
ORR'S WHITE and zinc sulphide 1974 strong sunlight when mois-
ture is present.
A F WHITING Calcium carbon- Ancient B B Yellows in oil.
A A AUREOLIN Cobalt-potassium France A B Transparent. Replaces
COBALT YELLOW nitrite 1861 gamboge, a fugitive color
F B B BARIUM YELLOW
Barium chromate Early 19th
B B Very pale color. May turn
A A CADMIUM-BARIUM Cadmium-barium U.S.A. C B
YELLOWS sulphate 1927
A A CADMIUM YELLOW Cadmium sulphide England C B
CADMIUM ORANGE 1846
F F F CHROME YELLOWS: Lead chromate 1800 A A Substitute cadmiums.
LIGHT, MEDIUM, Darkens. Poisonous.
B B B HANSA YELLOW Coal-tar lake 1934 C B
TALENS YELLOW etc.
F B B INDIAN YELLOW Magnesium-calcium India B B No longer made. Coal-tar
PURREE salts of euxanthic lakes substituted.
A A A MARS YELLOW Iron hydroxide Mid-19th B A
F B B NAPLES YELLOW Lead antimoniate Near East 8th A A Sensitive to sulphur. Cumu-
Century B.C., lative poison. Often imita-
Italy, 19th ted by mixtures of cadmium,
Century ocher, and white.
B A Great variety of shades.
A A A YELLOW OCHERS
Iron hydroxide Prehistoric
A A A RAW SIENNA Iron hydroxide Prehistoric B A
F B A STRONTIUM YELLOW Strontium chrome Early 19th B B
LEMON YELLOW Century
A A A TRANSPARENT GOLD Iron hydroxide B B Avoid cheap grades which
OCHER aluminum sometimes contain chrome
F F C ZINC YELLOW Zinc chromate Scotland B B Permanent only in very
LEMON YELLOW 1847 carefully made grades.
F B B ALIZARIN CRIMSON 1,2 Dihydroxyan- Germany C C Replaces fugitive natural
ALIZARIN RED thraquinone on 1868 madder lakes, which are
ALIZARIN LAKE aluminum hydrate obtained from roots.
A A CADMIUM RED: Cadmium sulphide Germany C A
LIGHT-MEDIUM- plus cadmium 1907
F A A CADMIUM-BARIUM
selenide and barium
C A Less tinting strength than
CADMIUM LITHOPONE sulphate
F B B HARRISON RED Paratoluidine Germany
TOLUIDE RED toner 1905
F F F MADDER LAKE
A A A MARS REDS
from madder root
C C Replaced by more permanent
artificial alizarin which
is obtained from anthracene.
B A Artificially made red ochers.
A A A RED OCHER-Eng- Iron oxide Ancient A B Shades vary, depending on
lish,Venetian Red, source.
Indian Red, Span-
ish Red,Light Red
F RHODAMINE TONER Synthetic organic 1892 C C Bleeds in oil.
F F ? VERMILION
C B Erratic.Some samples turn
black in spots.Others survive
in fine condition.Replaced by
cadmium reds in most cases.
A A A CERULEAN BLUE Oxides of tin and England B B Imitated in cheap paints by
cobalt 1860 mixtures of ultramarine,
viridian and white
A A A COBALT BLUE Oxides of cobalt France A A Imitated by ultramarine
THENARD'S BLUE and aluminum 1802 mixtures.
A A A MANGANESE BLUE Barium manganate 1935 A B
A A PHTHALOCYANINE
A B Replaces Prussian blue,
Marketed as "Winsor blue,"
Rembrandt blue," etc.
F B B PRUSSIAN BLUE Ferric ferrocyanide Germany A B Sensitive to alkali.
AMERICAN BLUE, 1704 Fairly permanent only in
MILORI BLUE, best grades.
PARIS BLUE, BER-
F A A ARTIFICIAL ULTRA-Sodium silicate, France C B Sensitive to weak acids.
MARINE, FRENCH aluminum and 1826
F A A NATURAL ULTRA-
C B Should not come in contact
with weak acids such as
A A CADMIUM GREEN Viridian plus C B
oxide plus cadmium
F F F CHROME GREEN Lead chromate plus Early 19th A B Not permanent. Poisonous.
CINNABAR GREEN ferric ferrocyanide
GREEN VERMILION (chrome yellow plus
A A A CHROME OXIDE
A A A COBALT GREEN
F F B EMERALD GREEN
PARIS GREEN, VERJ
A A A GREEN EARTH
and zinc oxide.
Copper acetoarsenite Germany
B B Do not confuse with mix-
tures of chrome yellow plus
Prussian blue, which may be
labeled chrome green.
A B Little strength in tinting.
C B Very poisonous. Must be
isolated from air, organic
lakes, cadmiums, ultra-
marines, and vermilions by
C B Takes up much oil in grind-
ing. Heated, it yields burnt
green earth, which is per-
manent in all techniques.
F F F HOOKER'S GREEN Mixtures of Prus- Not permanent.
PRUSSIAN GREEN sian blue and
A A PHTHALOCYANINE
A A A VIRIDIAN
OXIDE OF CHROME,
B B Very intense. Sold as Winsor
green, Talens green, etc.
B B Do not confuse with the fol-
lowing impermanent colors:
chrome green(lead chromate
and Prussian glue),emerald
? A A COBALT VIOLET
A B Though not poisonous itself,
it may contain admixtures of
cobalt arsenate which is
? A A COBALT VIOLET Cobalt arsenate France A B Poisonous.
F A A MANGANESE VIOLET
A A Affected by acids and alkali.
A A A MARS VIOLET Iron oxide 19th Century B A
F A A ULTRAMARINE Artificial ultra- Germany B B
VIOLET OR RED marine blue treated 1870-1880
with sal ammoniac
(for the violet) or
acid (for the red)
F F F MAUVE Aniline dye England 1856 Impermanent.
F F F ASPHALTUM
F F Never dries. Soluble in oil.
F F F BISTRE Soot from beech 15th Century F F Fugitive. Seen only in
wood. water color.
A A A BURNT SIENNA Calcined raw Ancient A A
sienna, iron oxide
A A A BURNT UMBER
Calcined raw umber,
iron oxide plus
A A Takes much oil in grinding.
A A A MARS BROWN Iron oxide 19th Century B A
A A A RAW UMBER
F B F SEPIA
Ink bag of the
A A Takes much oil in grinding.
Fugutive in strong sunlight.
Seen only in inks and water
F F F VAN DYKE BROWN
Native earth con-
taining humus and
F F Soluble in oil, fugitive in
water colors. Varies accord-
ing to source.
A A A BURNT GREEN EARTH Calcined terre verte B B
A A A IVORY BLACK
Charred animal bones Ancient
C C Very slow drier in oil. May
crack if used unmixed in
oil. Cool tone.
A A A LAMP BLACK Carbon Ancient C C Cool tone. Slow drier.
A A A MARS BLACK Iron oxide 19th Century B A Warm tone. Good film.
SYNTHETIC ORGANIC PIGMENTS OF ACCEPTABLE PERMANENCY
YELLOWS-in order from
greenish to reddish hues
HANSA YELLOW IOG
HANSA YELLOW G
AZO ANISIDIDE YELLOW
HANSA YELLOW R
HANSA YELLOW RN
ORANGES-in order of
REDS-in order of yellow
reds to blue reds
Pigment Green 10
Pigment Yellow 3
Pigment Yellow 16
Pigment Yellow 1
Pigment Yellow 74
Vat Yellow 20
Vat Yellow 1
Pigment Yellow 6 and 10
Pigment Yellow 65
Pigment Yellow 83
Pigment Orange 1
Vat Orange 7
Vat Orange 3
Pigment Red 148
Pigment Red 9
Pigment Red 112
Vat Orange 4
Pigment Red 123
Pigment Red 29
NAPHTHOL ITR CRIMSON
VIOLETS-in order from
reddish to bluish hues
ISO VIOLANTHRONE VIOLET
GREENS-in order from
yellow to bluer hues
GREEN GOLD-see Yellows
PIGMENT GREEN B
COMPARISON MINERAL TYPE
Cadmium Seleno Sulfide
Hydrated Chromium Oxide
Pigment Violet 19
Vat Violet 1
Pigment Blue 16
Pigment Blue 15
Vat Blue 4
Vat Blue 6
Pigment Green 8
Pigment Green 36
Pigment Green 7
Pigment Red 108
Pigment Red 108
Pigment Green 18
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D. Von Nostrand Company, 1931,
Graves, Maitland. Color Fundamental. Mc-Graw-Hill Book
Company, Inc. 1952.
Harley, R.D. Artist's Pigments c 1600-1835, American
Elsevier Publishing Company, 1970.
Kay, Reed. Painter's Companion. Webb Books, Inc. 1965.
Mayers, Ralph. The Artist's Handbook of Materials &
Techniques. Viking Press, 1950.
McDonald, Sterling B. Color Harmony. Wilcox & Follett
Renner, Paul. Color, Order and Harmony. Reinhold Publish-
.ing Corp., 1964.
Singer, Halmyard, Halls and Williams. A History of Tech-
nology. Oxford Clarentoon Press, 1957.
Taylor, J. Scott. Field's Chromatography for Artists.
Winsor and Newton, 1885.
Thompson, Daniel V. The Materials and Techniques of Medieval
Painting. Dover Publications, Inc., 1956.
Weber, F.W. The Artist's Pigments. D. Van Nostrand Company,