A large and largely undocumented Dutch manuscript from 1692 was brought to the world’s attention last week after a historian published images of some of its stunning pages, many of which are filled with block after block of hand-painted colors. Some reports have been calling the manuscript the “original Pantone,” because “like the famous color catalog” the book documents hundreds of colors as they vary with different amounts of water. Titled Klaer lightende Spiegel der Verfkonst, it was hiding inside of a French library’s collection for about a century before being published online under a listing that roughly translates to A guide to colors for watercolor painting. According to medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel, the Leiden University researcher who brought attention to the book…

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Before Pantone, there was this hand-painted 17th century color guide

Also published on Medium.