From a recent addition to my Nerdy History library--
Mummy, 1835 – Mummy, or Egyptian brown, is also a bituminous substance combined with animal remains, brought from the catacombs of Egypt, where liquid bitumen was employed three thousand years ago in embalming; … Its other properties and uses as a pigment are the same as those of asphaltum, for which it is employed as a valuable substitute, Chromatography, 1835
Mummy, 1849 – It is therefore that we… have never felt the least desire to essay this pigment, seeing nothing to be gained by smearing our canvas with a part perhaps of the wife of Potiphar, … the student can obtain genuine Egyptian mummy at our color shops, Handbook of Young Artists and Amateurs in Oilpainting, 1849
The main part of the book is the fascinating dictionary of colors, with entries like those above, from various time periods.
The last forty pages contain several sections, on the following topics (I've given some samples of the contents): Period Comments on Colours, e.g., “Ridiculous Colours from 1827” Historical Colour Notes, e.g., “Benjamin Franklin the Elder on Dyeing: c. 1700” Colour Symbolism, e.g., “Colour in Heraldry”
Harmony in Colour, e.g., “Harmony Of Colours, in Lining Carriages, with the Complexion and Dress: 1860” What Colours to Wear, e.g., “Advice for a Red-Headed Girl: 1888” Colours by Artificial Light, e.g., “Observations on Candle and Oil Lamp Light: 1807” Mourning Colours, e.g., “The Mourning Robes of Queen Elizabeth”
And all of this followed, as you’d expect, by an extensive bibliography.
This is the sort of book a NHG reads not only when researching a story, but just for fun. Delicious.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.