There was something unique the first moment I first saw the book ‘Nature’s Palette’. Every so often one stumbles across something that simply speaks to them and for no reason in particular. This book presented that very sentiment upon first glance.
‘Nature’s Palette was first written and compiled in 1814. Not only was it created in a time long before photography but it was created to help establish a universal color system of reference deeply rooted in nature. This book shares how an initial color hue of 54 expands to a classification of 110. Upon completion and to this day, this remarkable color field of reference has influenced and assisted artists, botanists, zoologists, and a vast array of scientists for generations.
This current updated print of Nature’s Palette – A Color Reference System From the Natural World contains a respectful and loving introduction by Patrick Baty. Baty touches upon the significance of the book’s origins when first compiled by German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner. Werner was inspired by the influence of the colors of the natural world and how these colors mimicked themselves throughout the animal and botanical kingdoms. Patrick Syme further enhanced the book in 1821 where the classified hues and color descriptions grew and swatches of color and designs were added. The influence the authors and the viewers have pulled from Nature’s Palette is rightfully considered iconic in art and science.
In the same ways the writings and imagery of Charles Darwin and John James Audubon have influenced generations of naturalists and artists, so have we seen this much loved but often unknown book inspire as well. From color swatches to animal representations to the splendor of botanicals from around the globe, there is something special to see for everyone within the pages of this book. There is just something essential and almost ancestral when contemplating how so much of we have come to understand as color theory and representational art and science has their origins rooted in the natural world
The color palettes within this beautifully crafted book cover so much more than animal, mineral, and botanical hues. There is a plethora of imagery alone, without even thinking of the text associated with it, that gives way to wonder. When one takes the time to read the text involved, the fanciful and beautifully descriptive wording just makes each page all the more gorgeous and breathtaking to behold. I loved how each page appears to be curated with care upon perfect soft pale white pages and vintage calming tones. It is nothing short of a treasure trove of reference and ornate natural beauty. I hope you may be able to take a few moments in your life to spend some quality time with ‘Nature’s Palette’.