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Cassandra
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« on: July 07, 2008, 09:22:37 AM »

What colors are not period for the mid 19th century? I have been told that Teal isn't accurate, but what other colors are there?
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Chessa_Swing
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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2008, 02:17:05 PM »

I hope teal is accurate... I just bought some teal-ish colored wool from Needle and Thread for a new coat!
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Cassandra
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2008, 04:00:30 PM »

For your sake I hope so too! It's one of my favorite colors.
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Elizabeth
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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2008, 05:55:17 PM »

I've not yet come across any color that's specifically "NOT" seen mid-century... shades and tones of different base colors are seen all throughout.

I think it's more the combinations of colors, and the predominance of specific tones in particular textiles, more than anything.  And, particular tones fall in and out of favor.

For instance, teal is a strong greeny-blue.  Robin's egg blue is a lighter greened-blue and that's within a "normal" range for silks and wools mid-century.  Stronger greened-blues are an option, though I don't recall seeing the specific *color name* teal mid-century.

My basic rule: if it's been a dominant decorating color combination in the last 25 years, don't use it. Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2008, 06:31:51 PM »

Oh boy, I like teal to.  Smiley (I actually like most colors)  Wink
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Anna G.
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2008, 06:56:35 PM »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this original child's dress (saved the pics off ebay last year) looks teal to me:





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Paris-Lynne Graham
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2008, 07:15:56 PM »

It's tricky to tell on a monitor, it looks light aqua to me.   Smiley
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Anna G.
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« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2008, 11:13:31 PM »

It could be.  Smiley I had to google images of "teal" and got several different shades when I did. Wink
« Last Edit: July 07, 2008, 11:35:36 PM by Anna G. » Logged
Elizabeth
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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2008, 11:31:43 PM »

And, there's the thing.  There does not exist a Universal For All Time color chart, so names evolve and change through different eras.  That dress *does* show that strong green-blues in wool are very possible. Smiley

(I wouldn't call it aqua, myself... it's too greyed-green for that, in my opinion.  Aqua ought to be more clear, like a Caribean lagoon at mid-day.
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2008, 07:16:17 AM »

It looks to me like what the British call 'duck-egg blue.' A very traditional color, sort of a greenish version of Robin's-egg blue.

Teal as a color name is usually applied to a much more saturated color - brighter and deeper than most blue-greens, as fuschia is brighter and deeper than most reddish pinks.

You young folks weren't paying attention yet in the late '80s and early '90s when teal and grey was a very popular color combination! I remember an apartment building freshly painted in those colors...we thought it was so hip!  Tongue
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vmescher
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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2008, 07:54:24 AM »

And, there's the thing.  There does not exist a Universal For All Time color chart, so names evolve and change through different eras.  That dress *does* show that strong green-blues in wool are very possible. Smiley

(I wouldn't call it aqua, myself... it's too greyed-green for that, in my opinion.  Aqua ought to be more clear, like a Caribean lagoon at mid-day.

In my research on color, people started trying to standardize colors with names in the early 19th century.  I have found some of the color books on google books and have an original color book, Color Standards and Nomenclature by Robert Ridgway, from 1912 that has over 1000 color swatches in it.  The first edition of the 1912 book was published in 1886 with only 186 color hand stenciled color swatches.  There are many familiar  names of colors that I have seen in period descriptions.  Ridgway took color books dating from 1814 through 1896 and compiled those and used the most standard colors from all of those books in his final book.  He drew from paints, dyes, and fabrics for his colors also.  Think of these 19th color books much like the modern Pantone color packs that only have numbers, not names. 

It is interesting to note that most of the early color nomenclature books were written for ornithologists, wildlife observers, flower and plant people, and scientists so they could accurately describe the animals, plants and organisms they were seeing.   Some of the books even had the "formula" for mixing the colors in the swatches.  Others had the instructions for dyers so that they could  achieve similar colors in silk, wool and cotton.  Many other books were written to teach color theory to children in elementary school and still others were for students learning the physics of color.  After reading so many books on color I've come to learn that color is not just a "pretty color" with a descriptive name.  It is truly a science and physics and art were not my best subjects in school.   

Color names changed over time but the colors, tints and hues were much the same.  As Elizabeth mentioned, the combinations also changed.   

The color (at least from what I can tell on my monitor) of the dress shown in posts above was named, in the 1912 book, Pale Nile blue.  The word "teal" did not appear in any of the 19th and early 20th century color nomenclature books.  Turquoise was used but it had more green in it. 
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Chessa_Swing
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« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2008, 08:31:17 AM »

Thanks for those tidbits, Mrs. Mescher! I've always wondered about how colors got their names and how long ago, but just never got around to looking it up. Smiley

The color of wool I have is a *very* saturated green (almost like emerald), with strong undertones of deep blue (sapphire).
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Cassandra
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« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2008, 08:33:40 AM »

So, any color is OK, (within reason, I think neons are out of the question Tongue) but it's the color combinations we have to watch out for, Right?
One thing I have noticed in my Peterson, in that Magenta is a shade of green. Not reddish purple like what it is today. There's one color that has changed it's shade since the 19th century.
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vmescher
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« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2008, 09:02:44 AM »

So, any color is OK, (within reason, I think neons are out of the question Tongue) but it's the color combinations we have to watch out for, Right?
One thing I have noticed in my Peterson, in that Magenta is a shade of green. Not reddish purple like what it is today. There's one color that has changed it's shade since the 19th century.

No necessarily any color is ok.  There are literally thousands of colors out there and most of what we have to go on are color names.  Unless you can find a specific name to go with a particular color, we have to guess.  Color combinations did change with the fashions as did shades of specific colors.

In your Peterson's were you looking at an actual color for magenta or a description?  If you were looking at an actual color to accompany the description, the ladies sometimes ran out of the color they were supposed to use and just used another color.  If you were reading the description of magenta as being a shade of green could you post the description of the color.  Any reference to magenta I have seen has been the reddish purple and in the color books I have it is under the violet-red category.
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« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2008, 10:12:06 AM »

Dittos with Virginia--it's not precisely "anything goes".  You need to look at originals, and descriptions of originals, as much as possible, in order to get a feel for the color sensibilities of the era window you're working with.  And then, it's also a matter of matching color to textiles... the coal-tar synthetic colors, like magenta, were first used on silks and wools, not cottons, for instance.  Then, matching color to complexion, age, and station.  LOTS of factors to consider.

Cunnington's "Nineteeth Century Women's Clothing" has a color index in the back, with corresponding British Color names from the early 20th century.  It really would be instructive to get hold of the color chart he was using, and match things up to a modern Pantone chart or something similar.
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« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2008, 11:02:07 AM »

Any reference to magenta I have seen has been the reddish purple and in the color books I have it is under the violet-red category.

Ditto. Wasn't it one of the early aniline dyes, like mauve and solferino, the latter one also named after a battle? If so, that explains the purple-red color, since that was the range achievable by those dyes at that time. Somehow, I just can't see naming a fashionable color today "Bagdad" or "Fallujah" but I guess Magenta and Solferino worked somehow, since magenta at least has stood the test of time.

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vmescher
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« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2008, 11:17:48 AM »


Cunnington's "Nineteeth Century Women's Clothing" has a color index in the back, with corresponding British Color names from the early 20th century.  It really would be instructive to get hold of the color chart he was using, and match things up to a modern Pantone chart or something similar.

Cunnington's book was originally written in 1937.  He used the numbers from the British Colour Council's color charts that were published between 1931 and 1951.  I expect that some libraries have the BCC color charts in their collection some where.  I could not find anywhere that had a selection of the BCC book online.

One website that might help is the US National Bureau of Standards color swatches.   There are thousands of colors listed and many are 19th century color names.  It is no guarantee that it is the same color as it was in the 19th century but at least it is a place to start.
They may be found at   http://www.anthus.com/COLORS/NBS.html 


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Virginia Mescher
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« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2008, 02:33:41 PM »

It sounds to me like that saturated blue with green undertones could be called a 'peacock' blue...back to the bird colors!  It looks beautiful with brown.

Trish Hasenmueller
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Jessamyn
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« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2008, 04:11:29 PM »

Somehow, I just can't see naming a fashionable color today "Bagdad" or "Fallujah" [SNIP]

Hank Trent

That's probably because this isn't a fashionable war. Are any wars fashionable any more? That's one of the 19th-century (and earlier) mindsets I find difficult to get my own head into.
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