A Regency Palette-Colors of The Regency Era

A Regency Palette-Colors of The Regency Era

 

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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. 

 

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imagesCA028FWOJonquil: 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. 

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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. 418px-Vittorio_Reggianini_-_Composing_a_Letter

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

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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

Pompeian-red-deep red

Nakara-pearlish in color

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The most popular color during the Regency Era according to several sites I visited? Puce. 

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.

 

Follow Collette Cameron:

Author

A bestselling, award-winning author, COLLETTE CAMERON pens Scottish and Regency historicals featuring rogues, rapscallions, rakes, and the intelligent, intrepid damsels who reform them. Blessed with three spectacular children, fantastic fans, and a compulsive, over-active, and witty Muse who won’t stop whispering new romantic romps in her ear, she still lives in Oregon with her husband and five mini-dachshunds, though she dreams of living in Scotland part-time. Admitting to a quirky sense of humor, Collette enjoys inspiring quotes, adores castles and anything cobalt blue, and is a self-confessed Cadbury chocoholic. You'll always find dogs, birds, occasionally naughty humor, and a dash of inspiration in her sweet-to-spicy timeless romances.

24 Responses

  1. Maggi Andersen

    Puce is a handy color to give a character you don’t like 🙂

  2. Alyssa Alexander

    Some of these I know, but a few were new to me, Collette. Aetherial was one I’d never heard before. Puce, though…It sounds like it should be so much uglier than it is!

  3. Barbara Monajem

    As a reader, I probably wouldn’t notice whether the colors are accurate. (I’m more interested in food–love reading about what is served at meals and sometimes even look up the recipes.) That said, I do enjoy the fabulous names for various colors.

    • I know I didn’t pay any attention when I was just a reader. In some ways, now that I’m also an author, some of the simplicity of just enjoying a good read is diminished. Even when I try to turn the internal editor off, it pops its head up.

  4. I love the color heliotrope–one of my favorite colored pencils as a girl had that name. It was a very educated color name for a child to learn. I still love to throw it about. And, weirdly, I kept the pencil because of it.

    Denise

  5. One of my favorite is Spanish Brown.

  6. Love this! I’ll have to bookmark this. I could have used that aetherial blue for my current heroine’s wedding gown!

  7. Alanna Lucas

    Love this! I am all about the blues 😉

    • Me too. It’s funny because I’ve read, more than once, that blue wasn’t popular during the Regency era but I see it often in fashion plates.

  8. I’d love to see a palette of these colors. While I think I know what color they are, seeing them would set them in my mind. Great article and timely too.

  9. As always, Collette, I love learning new things from your research. I plan on bookmarking this for future reference as I dreamed a Regency story last week and may have to write it one of these days.

  10. Regan Walker

    Great post… but you did forget Turkey red: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkey_red

  11. Fabulous post, Collette! Thank you. This is something we authors need to keep in our tool box. 🙂

  12. What a terrific post! Thank you!

  13. So, this was printed out and will be saved forever! Great article and how funny we all put crappy characters in puce!