This pigment is named after the sepia, or cuttle' fish, which is called also the ink-fish, from its affording a dark liquid, which was used as an ink and pigment by the antients. From this liquid our pigment sepia, which is brought principally from the Adriatic, and may be obtained from the fish on our own coasts, is said to be obtained; and it is supposed that it enters into the composition of the Indian ink of the Chinese. Sepia is of a powerful dusky brown colour, of a fine texture, works admirably in water, combines cordially with other pigments, and is very permanent.

It is much used as a water-colour, and in making drawings in the manner of bistre and Indian ink; but is not used in oil, in which it dries very reluctantly.