Dictionarium polygraphicum. Colours in painting.

Dictionarium Polygraphicum:
Or, The Whole Body of Arts Regularly Digested.
Vol I.
London: Printed for C. Hitch and C. Davis in Pater-noster Row, and S. Austen in St. Paul's Church Yard. MDCCXXXV.
COLOURs in painting is a term apply'd both to the drugs, and the teints produc’d by those drugs, variously mixt and apply'd.

The principal Colours us’d by painters are red and white-lead or ceruss, yellow and red cakers; several kinds of earth, as umber, orpiment, lamp-black, burnt Ivory, black lead, cinnabar or vermilion, gambage, lacca, blue and green ashes, verdegrease, bistre, bice, smalt, carmine, ultramarine; each of which with the manner of preparing them, their uses, &c. are to be found under their proper articles.

Of these colours some are us’d tempered with gum water, some ground with oil; others only in fresco, and others for miniature; all which see under their proper heads.

Painters reduce all the Colours they use under these two classes, of dark and light COLOURs.

Dark Colours are black, and all others that are obscure and earthy, as umber, bistre, &c.

Under light Colours are comprehended white, and all those that approach nearest it.

Painters also distinguish COLOURs into simple and mineral.

Under simple Colours they rank all those which are extracted from vegetables, and which will not bear the fire, as the yellow, made of saffron, French bernes [berries?], lacca, and other tinctures extrađted from flowers, us’d by limners, illuminers, &c.

The mineral Colours are those which are drawn from metals, &c. and that are able to bear the fire: us’d by enamellers.

Changeable and permanent COLOURs, is another division, which, by some, is made of Colours.

Changeable Colours are such as depend on the situation of the objects with respect to the eye, as that of a pigeon's neck, taffeta's, &c., the first however, being attentively view’d with a microscope, each fibre of the feathers appears compos'd of several little squares, alternately red and green; so that they are fix’d Colours.

Kircher says, that the changing, i. e. changeable Colour observ’d in the wings of pigeons, peacocks, &c. arises from the feathers being transparent, and of a figure resembling a prism; and consequently the lights being differently refracted from them, and

Permanent Colours are not exhibited by refraction, but by reflection.

M. Mariotte observes, that there are two different graditions or series of Colours from white to black; the one white, yellow, red and black, and the other white, blue, violet, and black.

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