Tuesday, June 21, 2016

German Dyeing Recipe Book

Artisan's Recipe Book for Dyeing Wool, 1680  Getty Research Institute
What a treasure!  These how-to manuals of the 17th century are like gold for researchers, especially like those of us who reproduce threads and need to name colors!  I happen to know that Lamora Haidar uses resources like this when our colors come back, that I have carefully chosen from the backs of embroideries, and needs to give them a color name.  It can take a long time to research the dyes and the samples related to a name to come up with what it actually looks like.  I am thrilled that she spends the time as now when I read inventories, such as Queen Elizabeth I's, a visual picture of the piece starts showing up in my head as I know what 'Incarnadine' looks like.

Artisan's Recipe Book for Dyeing Wool, 1680  Getty Research Institute.  This page
shows the difference of time in the dye pot.
So this is a German dyers recipe book from the 17th century, dated 1680.  While it is focused on
wool, the amazing thing about it is that it has wool samples in it that are affixed with red sealing wax!  So not only do you have the color preserved between the pages with the recipe and variables like time, etc. - you have a real sample that can be chemically tested either nondestructively or destructively with tiny hair like samples removed.  That is a TREASURE.

This book is owned by the Getty Research Institute and there is a wonderful blog about the book by Karin Leonhard (Research Scholar, MPIWG) and David Brafman (Curator for Rare Books, Getty Research Institute) that I will let you read instead of paraphrasing.

And even better for any of you who get really interested and 'geek-ed' out by stuff like this, the entire manuscript has been photo graphed and put up on the Getty site for researchers.  It is a bit clunky to go through, but fun none the less.

Click here for the digital version and then click on the upper right link "Display Item" to get to a series of files with the pages digitized inside.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this excellent post. I once met a Catholic nun who had a PhD in Chemistry and performed research on inks used in illuminated manuscripts. Not quite the same as this, but similar.