top of page
  • Kateri Kramer

Book Review: Nature's Palette: A Color Reference System From The Natural World

A little bit ago, Princeton University Press sent me a copy of this gorgeous book; NATURE'S PALETTE: A COLOR REFERENCE SYSTEM FROM THE NATURAL WORLD.

This is maybe one of my favorite books that one of my favorite presses has sent me. Ever since starting my MFA in 2014, I've become a little bit obsessed with color and books on color. This is by far the most gorgeous, interesting, and informative book on color that I've ever read.

It's filled to the brim with beautiful antique illustrations of botanicals and plants among others. The color palettes in the book are thoughtful and well explained. And the sections of writing about nomenclature of colors and their relationship to the natural world, whether that be oology or lepidopterology.

Not to mention, the introduction by Patrick Baty is one of the best explorations of Werner's Nomenclature of colors that I've ever read. First published in 1814, Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours is a taxonomically organized guide to color in the natural world. Compiled by German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner, the book was expanded and enhanced in 1821 by Patrick Syme, who added color swatches and further color descriptions, bringing the total number of classified hues to 110. The resulting resource has become invaluable to artists as well as zoologists, botanists, and explorers.

"Nature’s Palette makes this remarkable volume available to today’s readers, and is now fully enhanced with new illustrations of all the animals, plants, and minerals Werner referenced alongside each color swatch. Readers can see “tile red” in a piece of porcelain jasper, the breast of a cock bullfinch, or a Shrubby Pimpernel. They can admire “Berlin blue” on a piece of sapphire, the Hepatica flower, or the wing feathers of a jay. Interspersed throughout the book are lavish feature pages displaying cases of taxidermy, eggs, shells, feathers, minerals, and butterflies, with individual specimens cross-referenced to the core catalog.

Featuring contributions by leading natural history experts along with more than 1,000 color illustrations and eight gatefolds, Nature’s Palette is the ideal illustrated reference volume for visual artists, naturalists, and anyone who is captivated by color."

If you love color, the natural world, swatches, or incredible natural illustrations, this is a book you should absolutely have on your bookshelf.



Published:May 18, 2021



Size:8.13 x 10.5 in.

367 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page