THE GREAT EXHIBITION:
Although the ancient Britons dyed themselves with wood, and only a few years ago an Irish member of Parliament offered to die on the floor of the House, it is a remarkable fact that the pigments used in manufacture for the purpose of imparting brilliant effects to silks and linens, have until quite recently been imported from Holland.
The secret of color is, however, returning to the British Isles, and the mauves and magentas, so much in fashion just now, seem to promise for the islanders a monopoly of these peculiar dyes. Does it ever occur to Angelina, as she floats magnificently down Broadway, in all the luster of youth and fashion, that the exquisite dress she wears, and whose faultless sheen seems to be robbed from the dewy blushes of Spring, is in fact dipped and steeped in the essence of vile, smoky, stinky, crackly English coal; that she is — not to be too squeamish about terms — walking off with a ton, more or less of the best Walls-end attached to her skirts.
Perkin, the discoverer of mauve, was in search of artificial quinine, when he happened upon it, and almost at the same time a Mr. Simpson discovered magenta. Both these belong to the aniline, or coal-tar series of dyes, and as the way in which the color is produced has been very explicitly given, I have no hesitation in recapitulating it here.
The New York Times 1
In its early years, Ault & Wiborg capitalized on two innovations -- the use of coal-tar dyes to produce brightly colored inks and the development of lithography. Both developments helped to expand the ink business beyond the simple black product that had been produced for centuries. Toulouse-Lautrec was just one of the artists who used Ault & Wiborg inks for his prints; and the company commissioned him to create an advertising poster. 2
it was 1859 when this color revolution came about in the west, one year after the entry into trade with japan. the japanese prints evidence the usage of a wide range of colors, though, for over a century. were secrets of the japanese inks part of the scientific discoveries that occurred just at the time that they would have if they had? i do not know.
i've written david lance goines to see if he knows; he's steeped in printing history knowledge.
if i hear anything i'll let you know.