A Regency Palette-Colors of The Regency Era
It’s ironic how many times I’ve had to look up Regency colors while writing my historicals.
You’d think they’d stay in my head! Being a stickler for historical accuracy, it wouldn’t do to describe a Pomona green gown as sage or moss colored, and to call a butter-colored gown yellow would be blasphemous; better to call it primrose or jonquil. I’ve used all of those colors in my books. Color names that I take for granted, say cyan or cobalt, didn’t exist during the Regency era.
I hear you gasping! Me too.
So today, I’m simply going to list some popular colors and images of Regency attire.
It’s interesting to note, that while some colors appeared on nearly every site I’ve visited during my research (Pomona green, Jonquil, Puce), others are only mentioned on that particular site.
Jonquil: Yellow, as in daffodil
Primrose and evening primrose: Both shades of yellow. Primrose is slightly lighter than Jonquil, while evening primrose is more lemony or canary yellow.
Puce: a purplish pink. Puce means flea in French and is thus named for a flea gorged with blood. Eewww!
Pomona Green: A cheery apple green
Coquelicot-sort of a poppy red.
Emerald Green: Not the deep, dark green associated with the stones but more of a bluish-green, almost aqua.
Cerulean Blue: A muted, almost grayish blue, and *gasp* not popular during Regency times. Blue wasn’t all that popular at all, though lavender was. I wouldn’t have done well in that era considering my obsession with cobalt and royal blue.
However, I did find a wonderful resource, History Place Blog Spot which has an amazing list of color names, an example of the color, and the origin too. Several blues are listed there, so I can breath a bit easier.
Some of my favorites from that list include:
Blossom-a light pink
Bottle Green-just like you’d think!
Mazurine Blue-be still my heart. First time I’ve heard of this color. A splendid mixture of indigo and violet. I think it may be my new favorite!
Slate– A mix between gray and lavender.
I found these Regency Colors listed on Romance Reader at Heart. The names are fabulous!!
Popular Regency Colors
|APOLLO: bright gold.(1823)
AURORA: chili-colored. (1809)
AETHERIAL: sky blue. (1820)
AZURE: sky blue. (1820)
BARBEL: sky blue. (1820)
CAMELEOPARD : French beige. (1825)
CLARENCE: sky blue. (1820)
DEVONSHIRE BROWN: mastic (1812)
|DUST OF RUINS: squirrel. (1822)
EGYPTIAN BROWN: mace. (1809)
ESTERHAZY: silver grey. (1822)
ISABELLA: cream. (1822)
LAVENDER: between heliotrope and parma. (1824)
MARIE LOUISE: calamine blue. (1812)
MEXICAN: steel blue. (1817)
|MORONE: peony red. (1811)
POMONA: sea green. (1811)
PRINCESS ELIZABETH LILAC: Alice blue . (1812)
RUSSIAN FLAME: pale mastic. (1811)
SPRING: Cossack green . (1810)
TERRE D’EGYPTE: brick red.(1824)
VIOLET: parma violet
Another great site that lists several colors I’d not heard of before was History Ink Blog Spot.
Here are a of couple examples:
Bishop’s blue-again a purplish blue
Fawn-a pale, yellow-tan
Nakara-pearlish in color
Do you know any others?
I wonder if readers care whether color descriptions are accurate? Would a reader know what nakara was? I doubt it, but they would recognize cream or ivory or even bisque (no, not the soup).
All images are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons or other public domain sites.