This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
"Prussian Blue" is made by mixing potash prussiate with a salt of iron. The potash prussiate is obtained by calcining and digesting old leather, blood, hoofs, or other animal matter with potash carbonate and iron filings. This pigment is much used, especially for dark blues, making purples and intensifying black; dries well with oil; slight differences in the manufacture cause considerable variation in tint and colour, which leads to the material being known by different names - such as "Antwerp" "Berlin," "Haerlem," "Chinese" Blue. Indigo is produced by steeping certain plants, from Asia and America, in water, and allowing them to ferment; is a transparent colour, works well in oil or water; but is not durable, especially when mixed with white-lead. French and German ultramarines are made of good colour, and cheap, by fusing washing, and reheating a mixture of soda, silica, alum, and sulphur; used chiefly for colouring wall papers. Cobalt blue is an oxide of cobalt made by roasting cobalt ore; a beautiful pigment, and works well in water. "Smalt," "Saxon blue," and "Royal blue" art-coloured by cobalt oxides. "Bremen blue" or "Verditer" is a compound of copper and lime of a greenish tint.
Browns generally owe their colour to iron oxide. "Raw umber" is a clay coloured by oxide of iron; the best comes from Turkey; it is very durable both in water and in oil, and does not injure other pigments when mixed with them. "Burnt umber" is the last-mentioned pigment burnt to give it a darker colour; useful as a drier, and in mixing with white-lead to make stone colour. "Vandyke brown" is an earthy mineral pigment of dark-brown colour; durable both in oil and in water, and useful for graining. "Purple brown" is of a reddish-brown colour; should be used with boiled oil, and a little varnish and driers for outside work. "Burnt sienna" is produced by burning raw-sienna; the best colour for shading gold. "Brown ochre" is another name for "spruce ochre." "Spanish brown" is also an ochre. "Brown pink" is a vegetable pigment often of a greenish hue; works well in water and oil, but dries badly, and will not keep its colour when mixed with white-lead.
Greens may be made by mixing blue and yellow pigments, but such mixtures are less durable than those produced direct from copper, arsenic, etc.; the latter are, however, objectionable for use in distemper, or on wall papers, as they are injurious to health. "Brunswick green" of the best kind is made by treating copper with sal-ammoniac; chalk, lead, and alum are sometimes added; has rather a bluish tinge; dries well in oil, is durable, and not poisonous. Ordinary Brunswick green is made by mixing lead chromate and Prussian blue with baryta sulphate. "Mineral green" is made from bi-basic copper carbonate; weathers well. "Verdigris" (copper acetate) furnishes a bluish-green colour, durable in oil or varnish, but not in water; dries rapidly, but is not a safe pigment to use. "Green verditer" is copper carbonate and lime. "Prussian green" is made by mixing different substances with Prussian blue. Several other greens made from copper are "Brighton," "malachite," "mountain," "marine," "Saxon," "African," "French," and "patent" green. "Emerald green" is made of verdigris mixed with a solution of arsenious acid; is of very brilliant colour, but very poisonous, difficult to grind, and dries badly in oil; shoul be purchased ready ground in oil, in which case the poisonous particles do not fly apout, and the difficulty of grinding is avoided. "Scheele's green" and "Vienna green" are also copper arsenites, and highly poisonous. "Chrome green" should be made from chromium oxide, and is very durable: inferior chrome green is made, however, by mixing lead chromate and Prussian blue, and is called "Brunswick green." The chrome should be free from acid, or the colour will fade; may be tested by placing it for several days in strong sunlight.
Lakes are made by precipitating coloured vegetable tinctures by means of alum and potash carbonate; the alumina combines with the organic colouring matter, and separates it from the solution. The tincture used varies in the different descriptions of lake; the best, made from cochineal or madder, is very expensive. The colour is not durable, and dries slowly; it mixes well with white-lead, and is used for internal work. "Drop lake" is made by dropping a mixture of Brazil wood through a funnel on to a slab; the drops are dried and mixed into paste with gum water, sometimes called "Brazil wood lake." "Scarlet lake" is made from cochineal, as are "Florentine," "Hamburg," "Chinese," "Roman," "Venetian," and "carminated" lakes.