I really am a sucker for old books, especially something odd or quirky, and even more especially if it has to do with fashion or design. This recently found gem, Historical Color Guide, published in 1938 by Elizabeth Burris-Meyer, fits the bill perfectly. Burris-Meyer was the Dean of the School for Fashion Careers, which I assume was the Tobé-Coburn School for Fashion Careers. The book was meant to be a guide to color schemes for decorators and designers of all types. For each of the 30 different color schemes, she gives a bit of historical reasoning.
The Egyptian colors were all mineral in origin – red from haemalite, blue from copper, green from powdered malachite – and so on. Note the un-scientific names given to each color!
According to Burris-Meyer, it was Josephine’s cultivated taste that inspired the colors of this era.
Soon after I found this book, I chanced upon a set of Prang Examples of Historic Ornament cards, published by Louis Prang. Prang was established as a printer of Christmas cards, and soon branched out into other types of chromolithography. The cards date to 1879, according to the records at Winterthur, which has some sets of these. Louis Prang was interested in education and continued to publish items such as these cards for use in schools and in adult education.
I thought these two pages were interesting together. I have a page on Persian Miniatures from Historical Color Guide beside a Historic Ornament card titled Arabian. Note the similar colors.
I’ll not show every card, as some of them are very similar. And you will need to click on each card to see an enlarged view.