In 1963, an American company named Pantone, created a unique system for identifying, matching and communicating colors. Until then, there was absolutely no guide to the world of hues, their characteristics, and origins... or so we thought.
A recently discovered book "Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau" is a proof that more than two ages before Pantone someone decided to explore the secrets of colours. According to Medieval historian Erik Kwakkel who translated part of the book, it was written in 1692 by a Dutch author known only as “A. Boogert” and intended as a detailed guide about mixing watercolours, presumably for painters, artists, and scribes.
In his book, the Dutch writer explains how to create certain hues and change their tones by adding various parts of water. Even by modern standards, the way colours are described and displayed is very accurate. The book spans nearly 800 handwritten pages, many of which are filled with beautiful colour samples. Some raised topics include pigments, paints, varnishes, and printing on textures, which gives the idea of how comprehensive Boogert's guide is.
The book is kept at the Bibliothèque Méjanes in Aix-en-Provence, France, but you can view it in its entirety at E-Corpus.