The masterminds at Pantone weren't the first people to obsess over the differences between shades like azure and cerulean. Nearly 300 years before the color-cataloguing corporation was established, an artist named A. Boogert compiled a color guide of his own.
The book, titled Klaer lightende Spiegel der Verfkonst, dates back to 1692. It consists of over 700 pages of Dutch writings that tell readers how to mix and dilute colors to achieve subtle variations in hue. The vibrant grids of color the author provided evoke modern-day paint swatches.
According to deMilked, the text was spotlighted by Medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel on his blog in 2014. He wrote, "[…]the author explains in the introduction that he wrote the book for educational purposes. Remarkably, because the manual is written by hand and therefore literally one of a kind, it did not get the 'reach' among painters—or attention among modern art historians—it deserves."
The only known copy of Boogert's manuscript currently resides at the Bibliothèque Méjanes in Aix-en-Provence, France.