The FIRST ‘Pantone’ Colour Guide (from nearly 300 years ago)!
If you have ever flipped through a catalog of paint swatches for your home, then you probably used the Pantone Color Guide. It is basically a guide to almost every color you could think of. Pantone has been around since 1963. However, someone else beat Pantone to the punch… nearly 300 years before.
A medieval book historian by the name of Erik Kwakkel came across an extremely old handwritten book, full of color swatches. An author and artist known only as A. Boogert filled 800 pages with watercolors, creating almost every color imaginable. It was meant as an educational guide, but very few have seen it until now.
The guide was carefully handwritten and lasted hundreds of pages.
The artist mixed hundreds upon hundreds of color samples.
It was called the “Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau.”
It was most likely the most comprehensive color guide of its time.
Back in 1692, the artist began by explaining the process of mixing colors. He described how to create certain hues and change the tone by adding one, two, or three parts of water.
That simple explanation turned into hundreds of pages of swatches.
How the artist was able to create the scope and detail of this book, especially given the time period, is nearly unfathomable. If you’d like to see this historic book in person, it’s kept at the Bibliothèque Méjanes in Aix-en-Provence, France.