Saturday, May 21, 2011


Yet another fairly popular color.  Green was thought of as a soothing, easy to look upon color.  When bookcases had glass doors, they often placed green fabric behind to keep out the harmful sun.  Green Calash bonnets abound in museums today.  Again, definitions from Elephant's Breath and London Smoke.

Green: having a colour like that of grafs: in compofitions of dying and painting, made by mixing blue or black, and yellow together. Royal English Dictionary, 1775.
Sea Green: Is a very light Green, which is a mixture of [Verdigris Green] with Grey. Philosophy of Mineralogy, 1798.
Celadon: is a clear blueish-green colour, composed of verdigris-green and a little ashes-grey. In its mixture not the slightest tint of yellow can be perceived. Treatise on the External Characters of Fossils, 1805.
Willow: The most prevailing colours are willow and grass green. La Belle Assemblee, April 1812.
Grass: Like [Emerald Green], but with a flight tint of Yellow. Philosophy of Mineralogy, 1798.
Pea Green: a light yellowish-green. Primary Object Lessons, 1871.
Emerald: Is the pureft Green. Philosophy of Mineralogy, 1798.


Le Bombette said...

I recently read that parasols were often green up until the 19th century because green was thought to ofset any red or ruddiness of the complexion. Sadly, I can't recall the source.

ColeV said...

I've heard the same thing a number of times (about Calashes as well). No one ever seems to know where it came from though! The idea makes sense, but it seems to be the big mystery where the thought began.

The Dreamstress said...

I wonder if green actually does do anything to help keep out UV rays, and the 18th century had hit upon it without knowing the science behind it? I must ask my conservator friends...

It makes sense, because I do know that wealthy people hung red curtains on their windows when they got smallpox, to help prevent scarring, and it did actually help, as the red filtered out rays that caused the spots.

Also, green is my favourite colour ever, and I have just the fabric to recreate that 1775 dress from the Met. Happiness!

ricky said...

Emerald green was just one of the 'poison' greens that caused illness from the late 18th century onwards due to the arsenic involved in processing the colour. This was well-known at the time but it was not until the late Victorian times that laws were brought in to stop it being used for clothing, food colouring, hat decorations, household and artists colours, and so-on.

I've got quite interested in this colour recently, and I am dying to tell everyone all about it!