Colour Chart

From Project Seven Years War
Jump to: navigation, search

Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Colour Chart

Introduction

When discussing about colours we always must have in mind:

  1. That we cannot remember colours, so we have to describe them, we have to use synonyms or analogies (or nowadays colour-codes like RAL, Pantone, RGB, CMYK). The words chosen in the past are quite a really good hint: brick-red, jonquille-yellow, caput mortum, antwerpen-blue... Some libraries supply colour-guides or colour-atlas with numbered samples and comparatative lists of names used in the past. This is a rare but very good source, probably the second best after the own eye-whitness of real textiles or sample-books in museums.
  2. In the second half of the 18th century some new colours appeared, following fashion-trends: bleu-mourant, pale green, pale pink, linzer-yellow - and of course they were chosen for distinguishing between the numerous regiments. Here fashion met practical military sense (this led to some of the most unusual but highly attractive designed colour-combinations).
  3. Colouring varies because of the process, the result is the better the earlier in the process the colouring is done. Wool can be coloured as wool, as spinned reels and as woven textile, quality differs in respect to equality of results.
  4. It was always a question of price, officers ordered much better textiles than privates because they could afford it. For the mass of soldiers in the 18th century much more cheaper quality textiles were brought. Regiment chief could save a lot of money! On the other hand, regiments tried to fit really good uniforms to their musicians, ensigns, NCOs....
  5. Colours vary on different basic-materials: wool, linen, silk, cotton, and leather accept the colours in different ways. This results in differing appearance!
  6. Unbleeched textiles (the natural tone) may change its colour after washing and exposure in sunlight. So there must have been differences in the appearance of a regiment with brand new uniforms in comparison to regiments wearing old uniforms in continuous service. This should be taken into account, especially with Austrian or French uniforms.
  7. Some colour-groups in our culture are more common than others: we have only one word for the colours around orange but dozens of words describing all kinds of red and blue-tones. This may show how much cultural care was kept on this things in the past.
  8. Contemporary dyeing processes did not fix colours very firmly and uniform colours tended to fade rather quickly.

Description

Here is a first attempt to create a standardized colour chart.

Colour name Sample Red Green Blue Sources
Alizarin Crimson (madder red/Garance red/garanza)   227 38 54 Wikipedia
Amaranth   229 43 80 Wikipedia
Apple green   141 182 0 Wikipedia
Aurore   255 203 96 Pourpre.com
Bottle Green   27 77 62 http://www.tx4.us/nbs/nbs-b.htm
Bright yellow   255 244 5 http://44thregiment.itgo.com/
Buff   240 220 130 Wikipedia
Carmine/Crimson/Carmesa   150 0 24 Wikipedia
Cobalt Blue   0 71 171 Wikipedia
Cornflower Blue   100 149 237 Wikipedia
Dark Brown   101 67 33 Wikipedia
Dark Red   105 39 41 Austrian uniform guide, 1905
Deep Crimson   99 0 0 Wikipedia
Deep Indigo blue   0 51 102 Wikipedia (midnight blue)
Deep yellow   223 137 24 -
English red   212 61 26 La boite a couleurs
Fawn   149 128 112 http://www.tx4.us/nbsnotes.htm
Feuille Morte   153 81 43 pourpre.com
Firebrick   178 34 34 La boite a couleurs
Full Green   103 46 103 http://www.tx4.us/nbs/nbs-g.htm, Morier's painting of a grenadier of the 11th regiment, 1750
Gold   227 176 7 RAL
Golden yellow/ "Kaisergelb"   255 215 0 Wikipedia and Austrian Uniform guide, 1905
Grass Green   53 94 59 http://www.tx4.us/nbs/nbs-g.htm
Gosling Green   138 154 91 http://www.tx4.us/nbs/nbs-p.htm, painting of a Grenadier of the 5th regiment of foot, 1750
Half-Scarlet   245 42 9 -
Indigo blue   0 65 106 Wikipedia
Jonquil Yellow   250 218 94 Wikipedia
Lemon Yellow   255 247 0 RAL
Light Blue   52 129 185 RAL
Lobster Red   250 93 76 Austrian uniform guide, 1905
Medium Blue   35 69 202 Sample of the Swedish lifeguard uniform
Ochre (yellow)   234 162 33 Wikipedia
Olive   128 128 0 Wikipedia
Orange   250 96 50 pourpre.com
Pale blue   175 238 238 Wikipedia
Pale brown   152 118 84 Wikipedia
Pale buff   255 238 157 -
Pale yellow   255 252 145 -
philamot yellow   190 101 22 http://www.tx4.us/nbs/nbs-p.htm, Morier's painting of a grenadier of the 13th regiment, 1750
Pike Gray/ Hechtgrau   120 141 144 Austrian Uniform guide, 1905
Ponceau Red/Poppy Red   198 8 0 pourpre.com
Prussian blue   0 49 83 Wikipedia
Regimental/ Persian Indigo (for Navies)   15 18 122 Wikipedia
Rifle Green/Bottle Green/Deep Green?   69 103 80 Wiktionary
Rose   236 156 157 Wikipedia
Rose madder/brick red #1   227 54 56 La boite a couleurs
Royal Blue   0 35 102 Wikipedia
Russian green?   0 71 31 Joachim Schultz
Saffron Yellow   244 196 48 Wikipedia
Sage green   134 158 98 Wiktionary
Scarlet/Scharlachrot   255 36 0 Wikipedia
Sea Green   46 139 87 Wikipedia
Silver   206 206 206 pourpre.com
Sky Blue   135 206 235 Wikipedia
Slate Grey   47 79 79 Wikipedia
Steel blue   70 130 180 Wikipedia
Straw   228 217 111 Wikipedia
Sulfur yellow   247 231 13 Austrian Uniform guide, 1905
Tarquin Blue   63 86 131 Pourpre.com
Turquoise   33 136 143 RAL
Ultramarine   0 97 170 Faber Castell
Ventre de Biche   233 201 177 purpre.com
Vermillion   198 57 39 RAL
Willow Green   126 159 26 -
Yellow Green   154 205 50 Purpre.com (via La boite a couleurs)

Notes

  1. Philemot yellow and Feuille Morte may in fact be one in the same color, or have similar descriptive meanings (i.e. describing the color od dead leaves). If so, the different interpretations of this color may be related to the uneven dying of the period, a difference in shade between continental European and British definitions, or an error in description of one of the colors--likely the "Feuille Morte", as the "Philemot Yellow" color used here matches a painting illustrating a member of the 13th regiment, who were described as having philemot yellow facings.
  2. Some confusion exists regarding the nature of Bottle, Rifle, and Deep green: They may be one in the same, or three similar shades of green.
  3. Strangely, Contemporary depictions of regiments faced in "grass green" (e.g., 36th regiment of foot), reveal color much darker than expected for the term. This is supported by the 1905 Austrian Uniform guide, which also defines the color as a shade of dark green.
  4. according to the research of Kochan and Phillips, Popinjay Green and Gosling Green may have been referring to the same color.

References

Austrian Uniform guide, http://www.mlorenz.at/Bewaffnete_Macht/Uniformen.htm

David Morier, 1751, Paintings of Various soldiers for the Duke of Cumberland, http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/search?search=morier

Kochan and Phillips, 2013, http://www.historicaltextiles.com/

Acknowledgments

Ibrahim90 for the initial version of this article and Joachim Schulz for the initial version of the introduction.