Tingry’s lament is perhaps as true now as it was at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Moreover, it could be reasonably argued that the terms used for pigments have become no simpler in that time – rather, that situation has been made more complex by the need to relate past writings on pigments to a modern understanding of chemistry. This volume is, therefore, an attempt to bring a degree of order to a field that struggles, wittingly or unwittingly, to deal with the nature of pigments and what we call them.
The origins of this book lie with the companion volume on optical microscopy of pigments and a functional requirement for the authors to develop a resource that could lead the scientist, historian and conservator from those obscure but perhaps familiar terms to the science. At the outset of the project it was apparent though that three fundamental but interrelated questions needed to be addressed. First, what pigments have been used historically? Second, what terms have been used for them? Third, what should we call them now? The answers that came out of these (and difficulties in easily providing them) led to the realisation that there was a broader need for a more substantial volume addressing the issues of terminology and the composition of pigments. It also became clear from this research that as a field we have commonly been operating within too narrow a band of pigments and that there is a marked discrepancy between the materials described in past treatises and the reports of pigments found on artefacts. This book is consequently not intended to replace the number of excellent studies on individual pigments that exist, rather to complement them and provide an up-to-date reference that helps deal with the wider complexities and interrelationships.
- A Dictionary of Historial Pigments
- Optical Microscopy of Historical Pigments