Paul Gout's 157 colours

An unexpected reappearance of a precious tool to explore the colours offered by nature and to offer new sources of inspiration to colourists, designers and all those passionate about colours and natural dyes.

This book is for you if:

  • You are looking for new sources of inspiration for your professional or personal creations, here are 157 new and unique colours to create attractive and lasting new shades.

  • You like and work with natural and vegetable dyes, this book will be your workbook with the colorimetric characteristics of each colour.

  • You are attached to ancestral know-how and you are keen to learn about it, to keep it alive and to disseminate it, this book is a heritage nugget.

The authors

Dominique Cardonone of the world’s leading specialists in natural dyes, has transcribed an 18th century sample dyer’s manuscript in a modern and accessible form, thus bringing back 157 colours from the past: chamois, beaver grey, pomegranate flower, celestial blue, golden cinnamon, milk chocolate, English gunpowder, fire scarlet, sea green, pale flesh… She co-authored this book with Iris Brémaud, a researcher at the CNRS.

Listen to Dominique Cardon presenting her book on Euro-Web-Textile !

152 pages – 170 x240 mm / January 2023 / ISBN : 979-10-699-9896-4 / Public price : 36 €

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The book

This bilingual French-English book, restores for the first time the totality of the colours materialized by samples of dyed woollen cloth appearing in a manuscript entitled « Mémoires de teinture », completed probably in 1763 by Paul Gout, director and master dyer of the Royal Manufacture of fine woollen cloths of Bize, in Languedoc. This important factory exported – mainly to the Échelles du Levant – up to 2,750 pieces of cloth in 1764, corresponding to more than 52 km of fabric, dyed in lightfast and washable colours.

The sample dyers’ manuscripts are invaluable. They make it possible to follow the evolution of the art of dyeing and of the chromatic characteristics corresponding to the names of colours in Europe over the two centuries preceding the replacement of natural dyes by synthetic dyes in the textile industry. They thus offer original sources of inspiration and creation, as part of a new eco-responsible approach to the textile and fashion industries.

Dominique Cardon is continuing her work to promote the know-how of dyers of past centuries and their virtuosity in creating natural colours, by translating their dyeing processes into practical recipes that can be applied today, illustrated with samples. She has thus initiated a series entitled Couleurs d’autrefois pour verdir notre monde.


The first chapters are devoted to the life and work of Paul Gout and their contextualisation. We discover an entrepreneur who was already aware of the scarcity of resourceszero waste »), concerned about ecology (« the effluents from his dyeing plant are almost exclusively pure water »), and experienced in the most modern management practices: optimization in the organization of work, stocks, equipment and personnel.

Next come the colours, which are presented in the order in which they appear in the manuscript. Each is illustrated and described in a uniform manner:

  • name of the colour, as designated in the source document,
  • photo of the corresponding dyed sample,
  • table of the colorimetric characteristics of each sample expressed according to the international CIELAB space system,
  • a table summarizing schematically the process described for obtaining the colour.

Each step is distinguished and the quantitative data provided in the source document is converted into proportions calculated in relation to the weight of dry fabric to be dyed.

The authors

Historian and archaeologist, Dominique Cardon studies textiles and their dyeing with natural dyes in a transdisciplinary approach. She is director of research at the CNRS (CIHAM, Lyon). She was awarded the silver medal of the CNRS in 2011.

The series of workbooks Colours from the past for a greener world is co-authored with Iris Brémaud, a researcher in wood science. She explores the links between craft  knowledge and plant resources, in this case by means of colorimetry. She is a research fellow at the CNRS (LMGC, Montpellier).

More words and pictures about the authors.

Read an extract

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    Our partners

    The publication of this book has been made possible thanks to the support of our partners, underlining and recognising the impressive work carried out by Dominique Cardon, which benefits all the actors in the ecosystem of textiles and their dyes using natural dyes.

    We warmly thank the people and companies for their trust.