HNW - HNW: colors and dyes

Deborah Pulliam pulliam at
Thu Aug 20 14:07:45 PDT 1998

<<I really find a good range of colors in 17th century samplers and not as
much fading as one might suppose.  I have done a color study on over 100
samplers and find in those without obvious fading (greens are the most
fading colors in my experience) that deep colors remain apparently true and
often see dark reds, blues and greens.>>

I've looked at primarily  clothing and accessories, as opposed to
decorative needlework and samplers, so I suppose most of the pieces I've
looked at were much more exposed to light and air when in use.

Like you, I've seen many deep colors, really lush reds, greens and blues,
as well as the whole range of yellow-gold, but I've also seen severe fading
in wools and silks, particularly in things like caps and hats. The most
stunning example probably was a Tudor-style flat cap of the 16c, which
appeared to be mud brown, not a nice color at all. The cap had been heavily
fulled, but most of the nap was completely worn away. However, between the
crown and the brim, the wool looked brand-new, and was a deep, rich

I certainly would agree with you that taste in colors simply changes, from
deep, saturated colors, to pastels, depending on styles. However, saturated
colors certainly are the norm for the periods of my interest (16 and 17c
England and the colonies). I seldom see pastels.



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