Farrow & Ball’s new paint collection celebrates nature’s spectrum
A 19th-century color guide used by the likes of Charles Darwin has been brought back to life via Farrow & Ball’s new Colour by Nature collection. The 16-hue line was released last fall in collaboration with London’s Natural History Museum, which holds an early copy of the work, Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, in its rare books library.
Based on shades found in nature, the 200-year-old handbook was assembled by Scottish painter Patrick Syme, who built off the findings of German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner. Syme carefully prepared his palette by deriving pigments from animals, plants and minerals; painting the colors on paper; and cutting and pasting them into the book by category. Darwin carried a copy on his famous HMS Beagle voyage, and scientists and artists still reference the guide today in pocket-sized versions printed by Smithsonian Books.