Sunday, October 26

Why Is It Called Payne's Grey?

Well, I'm sure you can look up information on Payne's grey yourself, but I'm happy to provide some information here that you may find interesting if not useful.

Payne's grey is the bluish-black very dark grey color that probably isn't on your palette, and you may never think to use it either. However, occasionally I have found it very useful in mixing cool dark neutrals or for cool shadows.

Anyway, I suppose I also wanted to do a blog on this to complete my "trilogy" of blogs about where several paint colors got their names, the other two colors being Hooker's green and Davy's grey. Here are links to those blogs: Why Is It Called Hooker's Green? and Why Is It Called Davy's Grey (Who Was Davy?) 

From, Marion Boddy-Evans tells us that "The color Payne's Grey is named after a British watercolorist and art lecturer, William Payne (1760--1830), who recommended the mixture to students as a more subtle alternative to a gray mixed from black and white. In Artist's Pigments: c.1600-1835 Payne's grey is stipulated to originally have been "a mixture of (crimson) lake, raw sienna and indigo."1 (When referring to the original, remember "grey" will be spelt the British way with an 'e', not the American way with an 'a'.)"

In addition, a very complete discussion on Wikipedia about William Payne tells us "but the invention by which he is best known is a neutral tint composed of indigo, raw sienna, and (crimson) lake called Payne's grey. His methods were regarded as tricky by the old-fashioned practicians of the day. but there is no doubt that he did much to advance the technique of watercolour painting, and was one of the first 'draughtsmen' to abandon mere topography for a more poetical treatment of landscape scenery."

Now you know as much as I about these three painters from the mists of history and how they came to be immortalized in paint colors.

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