Colours available in-setting.

Hey, folks.

I've just created a character for my first Ars game and I was thinking about a few of the details, including - and I'm not sure what this says about me - the colour of ink she uses. (Yeah, I know!)

I then got to wondering what colours in general were available at the time: inks, clothing/material dyes, paints, stains, etc.

I understand that, traditionally, different palettes were available to the different classes, as the ingredients that make up the colours have different costs, some being extremely expensive.

My questions are: what colours are available in the setting - to nobility, to the peasant classes and is a different palette be available to mages? Also, how much colour would one see in a typical village, or are surfaces and materials generally left natural?

This is a very general question - and people on this forum will typically not write encyclopedias.

You can start from C&G p.138 Dyes and Inks, then look up the places some dyes come from at p.138f Commercial Sources of Trade Goods, go from there to the wikipedia for specific dyes or pigments you took an interest in, and further into specialized literature.

For another start, here's a text on inks from a workshop at Budapest University, and here's Theophilus' recipe for ink.


Might I direct you to "Color: A Natural History of the Palette" by Victoria Finlay, as the most comprehensive history for the general reader of which I'm aware?

Most ink is iron gall (a black) or a sort of red, although that later is technically a paint.

Magi do have a different palette because byproducts of some experimentation, or vis residue, can be used as dye. House Tremere specifically uses one to make their uniforms, but there are others, which allow you to sneak in modern colours (like mauve) if you like. I presume, for example, House Flambeau has a garish, vibrant orange available. House Tremere is noted as having a rich blue for clothes. House Mercere's red caps are presumably kermes bettle extract or madder or some magic thing, but if they are crimson they look a bit purple to us moderns.