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Mummy Brown - The Fabled Pigment Resurrected

December 7th, 2018

Mummy Brown - The Fabled Pigment Resurrected

There is only one pigment as mysterious, and fascinating, as the deadly "Emerald Green- (PG21)" and that is Mummy Brown. Mummy Brown is one of the most fascinating pigments in which its usage was based mostly on historical allure, rather than its technical prowess as an artist’s material. This pigment is mostly comprised of the ground-up remains of Egyptian Mummies [from my research this typically entails humans and felines]. However, there is some argument on the exact composition of the Mummy Brown pigment, and there were some additions and revisions of the pigment as it became a more established pigment.

The pigment of Mummy Brown began being used around the 1500's-1600's, although it is possible that Mummy remains may have been used as a coloring agent for oil paint at prior times throughout history, this hunch is based on the fact that ground up Mummy was used for all kinds of reasons primarily by Europeans- such as fertilizer, medicine etc. It was eventually established as a coloring agent in oil paint during the 15-1600's and generally lasted until the 1960's. There isn't much information available on Mummy Brown, and how it was made, its strengths and weaknesses- and similar to Emerald Green [which was in production from the early 1800's- 1960's] it is extremely hard to find a vintage tube of it.

I myself own 4 tubes of Emerald Green, as well as a pound of the dry pigment, and have my eyes on picking up 2 more tubes if I want to, and know 1 guy that has one tube himself. Sure, my situation is likely just having a good eye for good finds, but it is extremely hard to find unless you do some serious digging. Mummy Brown is an entirely different ballgame. I haven't found any tube or heard of any prior auction of a tube of Mummy Brown ANYWHERE on the internet through a lot of digging and asking around. I am convinced that this is possibly the rarest pigment in the history of painting [at least in oil paints that were tubed for sale]. I even tried, in desperation, to find if there were genuine Mummy parts for sale anywhere on the internet. The ONLY lead I got was a past sale of a mummified Ibis bird head that sold for $1200, and a currently for sale mummified Catfish for $2000.

Mummified ancient Egyptian catfish- roughly 2000 yrs old

You may be able to find another odd ancient Egyptian mummified animal limb through more intense internet digging, but I wouldn't get my hopes up. With Emerald Green the odd vintage tube does pop up from time to time, and the powdered pigment is able to be found through back-door sales on occasion [as it is technically illegal to sell Copper Acetoarsenite in its dry pigment form] but with Mummy Brown, both the paint, and the main ingredient to make the paint are extraordinarily scarce and difficult to find. I am the kind of person who, once I find something that I am interested in, I pursue it endlessly until I am satisfied. Since so far I can’t find a vintage Mummy Brown tube of oil paint, and the only genuine mummified remains available for making pigment out of are of a single catfish for $2000- I figured that I would go about looking at the basic fundamentals of what "Mummy" really is, and reproduce it myself.

Purposeful "Mummy" is essentially the flesh/bone of an organism, likely human or animal that is held in regard by humans that has been preserved primarily through dehydration. Traditionally the ancient Egyptians would take the body of a deceased human or animal and submerge it in Natron [a powerful natural salt] for essentially 2 months so that it can thoroughly draw out all of the moisture from it. Once the moisture has been drawn from the remains, it is now ready for embalming. During the embalming process the remains are washed and embalmed with a variety of different oils/ resins/ waxes etc. and in some cases, Asphaltum was used. Essentially in order to create my own "mummy", I would need to mummify readily available animal flesh. For this 1st delve into studying and experimenting, I chose to use a good quality, old-fashioned beef jerky made out in Oklahoma. No preservatives, no fillers, extremely minimal seasoning [which was almost nonexistent], and it was extra dried out. They marketed this beef jerky as "Cowboy style". It wasn't chewy, and it wasn't loaded with sauces and spices. It was extra dry, smoked, and had a small amount of seasoning on the top, which easily came off. I figured that I would use this as a starting point since I had never tried this before. One thing that should definitely be known about Mummy Brown, is that it is not only [rumored] a difficult pigment to work with, but also an incredibly difficult pigment to find any information about. The last known company to produce Mummy Brown in oil paint form was "Roberson & Co.", an old English art supply company which discontinued production roughly in the mid-1960's stating to Time Magazine “We might have a few odd limbs lying around somewhere, but not enough to make anymore paint.” I even contacted Roberson & Co. to inquire about how exactly they made Mummy Brown, the pigment formula, the exact binder formula, how the pigment was ground etc. and they essentially told me that I likely knew more about Mummy Brown than the modern runners of their company. This dead end, along with the fact that I can’t seem to find any vintage Mummy Brown oil paint tubes around, or genuine Mummy for sale essentially, meant that I would have to synthesize my own Mummy pigment from dehydrated mammal flesh, and from there experiment to make a workable paint. Now I will begin to explain my exploration into resurrecting Mummy Brown.


As I stated briefly above in the introduction, Mummy Brown is a highly obscure pigment in art history and finding any information on it, let alone the original materials to make the stuff, is virtually impossible. I went into this venture with two things in mind. First off with the mindset that if I can't find this paint myself, I will just have to look at the fundamental basics of what makes up this paint and make it myself. The second thing on my mind being that I will have to work from the fundamentals and experiment until I get it "right". However, despite my difficult beginning for this venture, through many late nights researching and digging endlessly for information on the Egyptian mummification process, the history of Mummy Brown, and desperately looking for a vintage recipe or explained process on how Mummy Brown was made- I was able to find a lot of valuable information on how mummies were prepared [dehydration, embalming etc.], and a decent bit about Mummy Brown as a paint and its history. The most valuable piece of information that I found was a pigment recipe to Mummy Brown according to Roberson & Co. that was written in the early 1900's [more on this later. Most of what is written about Mummy Brown online is nothing but folklore, TIME magazine re-hash interview with Roberson & Co., or copy/ paste laziness from Wikipedia. You REALLY have to dig to find out anything worthwhile about Mummy Brown, it truly is an obscure pigment.

So, what I found-

Sally Woodcock, Body Colour: The Misuse Of Mummy, The Conservator, 1996

Read entire thing here- Body Colour: The Misuse Of Mummy

So, within this page, on this section on "Mummy Brown" in the book "The Conservator" there are 2 vague recipe's for making Mummy Brown, according to Roberson & Co.

The 1st recipe states

1. "8 oz of colour, unspecified, but presumably prepared Mummy Brown, and 1/4 oz Cappagh Brown"

This recipe is said to come from an undated book containing recipe's within the Roberson & Co. archive, likely from the 1920's-30's.

2. "...prepared by grinding together the bitumen and bones of an Egyptian Mummy"

This recipe is said to come from the most recent Roberson & Co. catalogue within the archive dated at 1926-33, according to "The Conservator" book.

For comparison to these recipe's, we also have actual Roberson & Co. tubes that we can look in picture detail to examine. The photo of the "Mummy" tube in the page picture above is dated from a 1903 "Illustrated Mail" release. It is in black and white, so it is hard to really examine it. There are, however, full-color photos of Mummy Brown oil paint tubes by Roberson & Co.

Mummy oil paint tubes at Forbes Pigment Collection at Harvard Art Museums

Here are 2 separate tubes of Mummy Brown oil paint made by Roberson & Co. which give us a sense of the the color, texture, and vehicle of the paint as you can see some residue of the paint around the cap of the tube, as well as on the body of the tube. Just by looking at the body of the tube it appears as if the paint has an irregular earthy texture to it, and the binding vehicle looks resinous.

Mummy Brown Pigment sample / Swatch + Forbes Pigment Collection at Harvard Art Museums.

This right here is a sample of Mummy bone on the right, mummy flesh on the left [barely visible]- These 2 things are used to grind pigment. You can also see a color swatch of prepared Mummy oil paint with both "size' and linseed oil. What kind of size, and is it just linseed oil? are 2 questions I don't have answers to. However, from this sample, we get a good look at the hue of Mummy Brown, as well as somewhat of an affirmation of the irregular/ gritty texture of Mummy Brown via the test swatch.

Martin Drölling, “l’intérieur d’une cuisine”, oil on canvas, 1815

The above painting is said to have made extensive usage of Mummy Brown, particularly in the shadow areas of the painting. This is also said to be the reason for the cracking in the paint film as Mummy Brown is mostly made up of flesh thus causing instability. I am not so sure I agree with this claim as you can also see some cracking in the sky outside the window, which highly likely does NOT contain Mummy paint. I would say the root cause of the cracking could likely be due to some sort of component in the medium used- possibly a resin, or too much thinner or possibly even a lighter oil such as poppy or safflower. I am not sure as to if Mummy cracks over time on its own, I do aim to find out in my testing of my reproduction of Mummy Brown.

In this painting using Mummy Brown, comparing it to the above Roberson/ Harvard pigment samples it appears that the Mummy in this painting [if the shadows are a good example of its hue] is darker than the Harvard sample and possibly darker than the Roberson samples. This could mean a few things- It could mean black or a darker brown was mixed in, or it could mean that this sample of Mummy Brown was more Asphaltum heavy than the Harvard sample. I feel like the Harvard sample is only mummy remains ground with linseed oil [or maybe some mixed vehicle, as mummy is a poor drier and thrives better with the addition of driers and resin varnish] and I feel like the Roberson samples are Mummy + Asphaltum + Pinch of Cappagh Brown [based on the recipe's, and the paint tube labels themselves.] I feel like the samples of Mummy in the painting are similar to Roberson Mummy, maybe dabbed with a little bit of a separate pigment to envelop a darker shadowy look. Probably a Bone Black, or Cassel Earth paint. The transparency of Mummy Brown makes it particularly a great choice for shadows, as it has been suggested that it was used for in this painting. These are just my speculations.

Ok, now that I have given you evidence of a semi-proper pigment recipe for Mummy Brown I can provide a handful of academic sources. These sources in which chemistry and art history come together to help provide as close as possible an accurate look at what Mummy Brown was, it's working characteristics, the Egyptian Mummification process, and a pathway for creating a close reproduction of Mummy Brown oil paint.

I would like to start off with the section on Mummy Brown in the book "Chromatography, or A treatise on colours and pigments" by George Field, 1816

Read more here-

Chromatography, or A treatise on colours and pigments This link will generate the "Browns" section of the book, starting you on Asphaltum, which is very similar to dehydrated mummy flesh in practice, and likely used in many Mummy Brown recipe's and even some ancient Egyptian mummification embalming processes.

Excerpt from a book by Mrs. Merrifield,1849 - Original Treatises in the arts of painting

Read more here- Original Treatises in the arts of painting

G.M. Languri, Molecular studies of Asphalt, Mummy and Kassel earth pigments: their characterisation, identification and effect on the drying of traditional oil paint, 2004

Read more here- Molecular studies of Asphalt, Mummy and Kassel earth pigments: their characterisation, identification and effect on the drying of traditional oil paint

Ok, now that I have shared 4 academic sources regarding the composition, history, and characteristics of Mummy Brown, allow me to explain the scope and significance of each.

1. Sally Woodcock, Body Colour: The Misuse Of Mummy, The Conservator, 1996

This is in the more recent half of the 4 studies, dated at 1996. This publication focuses on the gradual history of the usage of Mummy powder for things from fertilizer, to medicine, to artist paint pigment. This publication sources us directly to the last company [and honestly the only company that I know about] to make Mummy Brown oil paint- Roberson & Co. It also gives us 2 partial recipe's regarding the pigment combination for Mummy Brown from the Roberson & Co. archive. This research has cemented the bedrock as to a base formula for the PIGMENT aspect of historical Mummy Brown, although the actual binding vehicle is still a mystery. The actual oil/resin/drier/stabilizer combination that makes up a vehicle is not listed. I have a hard time believing that the vehicle to bind the pigment is just linseed oil, mostly because Mummy Brown is a poor drier and if Roberson included Asphaltum into the mix, or the mummy being sourced for pigment included Asphaltum from the ancient embalming process- that is also a poor drying pigment. From this publication, we can infer a very good estimation on what the pigment composition tended to look like for Mummy Brown. From this we can see that it was an adulterated color, meaning it wasn't a single pigment color. From the Roberson archive recipe's it seems that it was either a double or triple pigment color. Using ground up mummy powder [dehydrated flesh], Cappagh Brown [an earthy pigment high in manganese, with a dark yellow ochre hue], and it's possible that Asphaltum was added separately into the mixture.

In this publication the author also talks about the principle uses for Mummy were said to be for glazing, varnishing, and flesh tones- Every source that speaks on the characteristics is unanimous about this. This also supports the notion that a resin varnish may have been used in part as the vehicle for the oil paint, or at least used with it as a medium to work properly. This publication also speaks to the working characteristics of Mummy Brown. How it doesn't dry properly, and how it is very transparent. The fact that it is very transparent is why it's such a great pigment for glazing, flesh tones, shadows, and varnishing. The fact that it is a poor drier is why it has been adulterated with other pigments often times. Asphaltum was said to be very similar to Mummy powder in the sense that it was also transparent and a poor drier, however some believed the 2 together made for a nice hue and aided the negative drying aspect- also it appears as if small amounts of earth pigments may have been added in order to improve drying times.

2. George Field, Chromatography, or A treatise on colours and pigments, 1816 -

This is the oldest out of the 4 academic sources. This source seems to be all behind the idea Bitumen/ Asphaltum being used during the embalming process of ancient Egyptian Mummies. It also notes that Asphaltum and mummy powder when made into paint work virtually the same, which may hint as to the confusion some people have with differentiating the two. Asphaltum tends to be darker, and may have been added to darken the hue of Mummy Brown, make it slightly more opaque, and/or to coincide with what people once believed to be an accurate ritual of using Bitumen/ Asphaltum in the embalming process of mummies- which is up for debate and is only partially true. More on this once I give a few academic sources on the actual mummification process in ancient Egypt. This source also mentions "animal remains" likely hinting that more than just human mummies were used. In fact, it is well known that both cats and humans were used for mummy powder related materials. It may be possible that other mummified species were also used. More on this when I delve into the mummification process and list academic sources for that.

3. Mrs. Merrifield, Original Treatises in the arts of painting, 1849

This is another one of the older sources for my research. I find this to be a very powerful one, and it provides us with a notion that I couldn't agree with more. This source more nuanced distinction between Mummy powder and Asphaltum. It also points out how artists and paint makers may have alleviated the issues with both Mummy, and Asphaltum by using driers, and resin varnishes to speed drying/ make for a more solid paint film. This notion that driers may be present, and that resins may be used pops up quite a bit between the academic sources in which I have studied and noted here for all to read. It is very likely that Mummy Brown was a very complex oil paint, with many components to make it function as desired. My 4th source, really tells all and rolls out the red carpet for the truth of Mummy Brown, as it is the most recent and has the most scientific analysis and provenance on Mummy Brown.

4. G.M. Languri, Molecular studies of Asphalt, Mummy and Kassel earth pigments: their

characterisation, identification and effect on the drying of traditional oil paint, 2004

This source is the most recent, as well as the most in-depth regarding physical evidence, and chemistry based analysis in regards to the actual composition of Mummy Brown, both pigment and vehicle wise. A lot of the previous hunches and conservator and artist alike speculations on Mummy Brown were brought into the lab for testing and a bag of mixed results emerged. Within this source, a sample of "19th Century Mummy Pigment" was taken to the lab for chemical analysis. In the snippet that I shared on my blog, extracted from the full research publication, the final analysis on the "Mummy Pigment" was revealed. It appears as if animal flesh of some sort had been used, most likely of cat or human origins- However it was also suggested that the "fat component" could be fungal or bacterial based. So I'll break down both the pigment components, as well as the vehicle components of the oil paint.

ALL components within the "Mummy Brown" paint sample- "Animal fat", Asphaltum, Mastic resin, Linseed oil, Beeswax, Pine resin

Pigment- "Animal Fat"(likely flesh of animal origin- most likely human or feline based), Asphaltum [could have been part of embalming process, or added separately], pine resin, beeswax [the pine resin and beeswax could be the result of the embalming process of the mummy, or could be additions to the vehicle during the paint making process]

Vehicle- Mastic resin, linseed oil

The 19th century sample of Mummy Brown that was tested cant be conclusive as having Egyptian mummy components, but as stated prior there IS evidence of "animal fat", and things that are usually associated with the production/ embalming process of mummy brown [asphaltum, beeswax, pine resin] suggesting that it is definitely possible that Egyptian Mummies were involved.

I also have 1 academic source regarding the actual mummification process of Egyptian mummies.


, Abdel-Rahman El-Aminb, 2011


Ok, now my thoughts regarding this source in regards to ancient Egyptian mummification, and how it ties into Mummy Brown oil paint.

Reading this publication confirmed what I had seen speckled throughout my 4 Mummy Brown oil paint academic sources, as well as from other Mummy Brown and Egyptian mummification sources that I have read but not listed here. Egyptian mummification wasn't a linear process. First, let's understand at the core what an ancient Egyptian mummy is before we dissect the various forms of mummification that they used.

1. Subject- Usually the subject being mummified was human, or feline. There are examples of other species being mummified [such as birds, and even fish] but humans and cats were at the top of the totem pole.

2.What is mummification?- Mummification is essentially a dried out corpse free of moisture, thus preventing bacterial growth, rot and decay. Preserving for the most part the general form of the organism in question. Embalming was a secondary step taken both for decoration, as well anti-bacterial purposes.

Now that we understand that Egyptian mummification is essentially dehydrated corpses of humans/ felines [occasionally other species] that may or may not be embalmed with various resins/ oils lets look into the materials and methods used to accomplish said "Mummification".

1. Dehydration- This is the CORE component of mummification. Nothing is technically needed beyond this to preserve a corpse, however, embalming may help a bit with preservation from an anti-pest repellent, it is mostly decoration. Dehydration for mummification in ancient Egypt first started from the hot dry sand of the desert in accompaniment with the blistering heat. Heat + Dryness cause the mummification process to take place. This method was by accident and was largely replaced by dehydration by Natron salt. Egyptians began burying their dead in the sand within enclosed structures [which reduced exposure to the heat of the sun and the bodies began to rot. It was because of this flaw that they began using Natron salt to suck all the moisture out of the corpse, causing mummification. So the 2 methods of the Egyptians used for the dehydration process of mummification was burial in hot desert sand and letting the heat/ dryness of the sun/sand to do the job, and the other and newer form was submerging the corpse in Natron salt to suck all the moisture out of the body, usually 70 days or so was needed to adequately dehydrate the corpse.

2. Embalming- After the corpse was dehydrated thoroughly the Egyptians were known to embalm the mummy with various oils/ resins. This seems to be largely for purposes of decoration, but may have had anti-bacterial purposes and aided in preservation. This process was a lot more varied than the dehydration process, which essentially had 2 methods, with 1 [Natron Salt] dominating. The embalming process was much more based on the status of the corpse in question, and the region where the process was taking place. There was no set in stone way to do it. Some things used for embalming are as follows-


Pine Resin


Bitumen/ Asphaltum

There are others, but those are just some examples. During the embalming process the corpse was generally washed, dried, and then received treatment of resin/oils to the skin and then were wrapped with linen, and possibly treated over the linen bandages as well. Pine resin appears to be one of the more common items used in embalming, but it varied a lot from one specimen to the next. Some weren't embalmed with anything, likely due to status. Being a person of lower status, or a species other than human/ feline. The dehydration process is really the only necessary component to the mummification process.

In the beeswax section of this publication it appears that a common formula for embalming included-



Pine Resin

It doesnt specify in what quantities, but I am assuming that this is a general ballpark range of what an embalming mixture would look like, and likely a treatment given to human specimens of importance.


My general consensus is based on my 5 academic sources regarding Mummy Brown oil paint, as well as the Egyptian mummification process, and my photographic sources of Mummy Brown oil paint, and a painting likely painted mostly with Mummy Brown.

Mummy Brown oil paint broken down into categories

Pigment- Mummy Flesh, Asphaltum, Earth pigments [Cappagh Brown]

Vehicle- Linseed oil, resin varnish,Beeswax, driers

Characteristics- Very transparent, poor drier, burnt umber hue, weak tinter

Uses- Flesh tone mixer, glazing, shadows

Mummification process-

Dehydration- Natron salt, Natural Heat/Dryness

Embalming- Resin, oil, beeswax

This is a general rundown I have from the academic sources that I have listed above. Now I am going to provide details on how I intend to reproduce this as close as possible.

Dehydrated Cow flesh + Finished tubes of Mummy Brown


MUMMY- Since access to genuine mummies is a rare, and expensive prospect, I am going to be observing what a mummy is essentially. Mummy is essentially dehydrated flesh from primarily mammal sources. I am dehydrating the flesh myself, grinding it into a powder, and then mixing some things known as embalming materials during the mulling of the oil paint, rather than beforehand as with genuine mummies. The embalming materials become part of the paint recipe at this point. Will explain more below.

Dehydration- The way that I am choosing to dehydrate the mammal flesh is by using a food dehydrator in which heat and anti-humidity is introduced by artificially induced heat, and a fan to dehydrate the flesh. The dehydrated flesh strips are then put into a coffee grinder and ground up into a fine powder pigment.

Embalming materials- Asphaltum, Beeswax, Amber resin. These materials are mixed in with the final paint.

MUMMY BROWN OIL PAINT- This recipe is a piecing together from my 4 sources, as well as my rough pigment recipe's from Roberson archive listed above in this publication.

Pigment- Dehydrated mammal flesh[Mummy], Asphaltum, Raw Sienna [earth pigment close to Cappagh Brown]

Vehicle- Dark drying linseed oil [linseed oil + lead oxide], Amber resin varnish, Beeswax

Drier- Cobalt Zirconium [also contains Lead Oxide within dark drying linseed oil]

The exact ratio's for the pigments/ vehicles of this paint will remain largely unlisted. I can say this however-

Pigment- Overwhelmingly dehydrated mammal flesh [Mummy], a decent amount of Asphaltum, and a pinch of Raw Sienna

Vehicle- The vehicle is essentially equal parts of 3 different mediums. Dark drying linseed oil, amber varnish, beeswax.



Dehydrated Mammal flesh- This is the core ingredient of the paint. Without this, it wouldn't be Mummy Brown. This is the key factor as to why the final paint is transparent. Poor drying, dull reddish leaning brown.

Asphaltum- This is one of the ingredients used for embalming Egyptian mummies, as well as to adulterate Mummy Brown oil paint. Asphaltum is very similar to Mummy [dehydrated flesh] in terms of how it mulls in oil paint. It is very transparent [slightly more opaque than Mummy], and it is a poor drier. It differs in hue, being a dull darker brownish black color.

Raw Sienna- This pigment is added in response to the Roberson & Co. pigment recipe's in the earlier parts of my publication that included earth pigment "Cappagh Brown" which is high in manganese, and dark yellow ochre'ish in hue. Cappagh Brown, upon researching the pigment, was an umber pigment specifically mined in Ireland. I could not find access to this pigment at the current time, so I sought out something as close as possible. I figured Raw Sienna would be a great substitute, as it was similar in hue [dark yellow ochre looking], raw sienna is also semi-transparent [in congruence with transparency with the mummy and Asphaltum pigments], and Raw Sienna was also high in Manganese, which worked as a drier. Adding earth pigments as adulterants to Mummy Brown was primarily done to speed drying time, and add some opacity to the Mummy Brown. This pigment was added sparingly.


Dark Drying Linseed Oil- Oil is obviously going to be the key component to an OIL paint. I chose dark drying linseed oil because Mummy Brown is a very poor drier on its own, both mummy pigment and Asphaltum are poor drying. The presence of Lead Oxide in the dark drying linseed oil aids in the drying process.

Amber Varnish- The inclusion of Amber varnish is for a few different reasons. The varnish consists of roughly 50 % amber resin dissolved in turpentine and 50% walnut oil. The embalming of mummies included oils and resins, for my embalming materials I chose things that had multiple purposes, and were often cited as adulterants in Mummy Brown production anyway. The amber resin varnish doubles somewhat as a drier, as well as a slight sheen increaser [although not overpowering].

Beeswax- The inclusion of beeswax, like amber varnish, serves 2 purposes. The Beeswax is used in accordance to mummy embalming, as well as the double effect of being a good stabilizer for bonding the pigment and vehicle. The vehicle is mostly oil.

Drier- I use a 2nd drier, which is more concentrated in order to give my Mummy Brown a stronger drying time. Cobalt Zirconium

From pigment, to finished paint of my Mummy Brown oil paint reproduction.


My reproduction of Mummy Brown is based on 5 academic publications on Mummy Brown/ Egyptian mummification, as well as pictorial evidence of Roberson & Co. oil paint tubes, and the picture of Mummy Brown likely used in the Martin Drölling painting. This reproduction of mine is made to be as close as possible to what these sources suggest of Mummy Brown, but it is important for me to reiterate that it is just that, a close approximation of Mummy Brown, as I have to substitute the main ingredient, as well as a minor ingredient. It is also important to let it be known that this is NOT a hue. My Mummy Brown reproduction is very similar in terms of basic ingredients as historical Mummy Brown. I would say that my reproduction is similar to modern day "Ivory Black" which isn't made from burnt Ivory bone carbon but is made from more common burnt animal bone carbon. Modern Ivory Black [BONE BLACK] is nearly identical in terms of basic ingredients to historical IVORY BLACK, as well as nearly identical in its working characteristics in oil paint. The key difference is that historical Ivory Black uses a specific type of bone [ivory] for burning, and Bone Black uses ANY animal bones for burning. The same can be said for historical Mummy Brown, as it uses very specific dehydrated mammal flesh [human, cat of ancient Egyptian origin] and my reproduction is essentially any mammal flesh that I choose to dehydrate myself. The issue of embalming is addressed above in which I note that a mummy doesn't need to be embalmed in order to be preserved, nor was it always embalmed, nor was there a 1 shoe fits all method for embalming. On top of this, my pigment/ vehicle makeup of Mummy Brown includes a solid mixture of items commonly associated with Egyptian embalming, that serves a double purpose for the paint, as well were historically used as adulterants in making Mummy Brown [ as can be observed by reviewing my 5 academic sources].

My next entry in here on Mummy Brown will be detailing the working characteristics of my Mummy Brown reproduction, or as some may call it "Flesh Brown". I will be testing the same things as I did with my Vintage Emerald Green oil paint tubes.



-Transparency/ Tinting strength


-Pigment In Practice

After all tests have been performed, I will begin the process of announcing my Mummy Brown reproduction for sale.

More to come!




The initial entry into my Mummy Brown blog post detailed both the history of Mummy Brown as an artists oil paint, as well as detailed my plan to reproduce it. Since Egyptian mummies are largely out of the question for reproducing this fabled pigment, I have turned to a basic equivalation of what Mummies actually are. They are essentially severely dehydrated mammal flesh that has usually been embalmed with a variety of resins and waxes. My reproduction of Mummy Brown entails severely dehydrating mammal flesh [for all of my tests in this blog it has been by using cow] and then adding commonly used ingredients in embalming process of Egyptian mummies to the paint medium once I begin making the paint. Things like amber resin varnish, beeswax etc. These ingredients also work as doubling agents to helping the paint work in a similar manner to a standard oil paint, as Mummy has its issues with drying on its own, as does Asphaltum.

The "Mummy Paints" that I will be testing are as follows:

"Basic Mummy"- This paint includes only severely dehydrated mammal flesh that has been pulverized as its pigment source.

"Mummy Brown"- This paint includes an overwhelming majority of its pigment as severely dehydrated mammal flesh, a decent amount of powdered Asphaltum, and a small amount of Raw Sienna as additional pigments. This is the star of the paints being tested, as it is meant to most closely replicate historical Mummy Brown. This reproduction is very closely following the recipe of Roberson & Co.

"Asphaltum"- This paint just includes powdered asphaltum. Very simple.

"Transparent Mummy hue"- This is a transparent red iron oxide paint made by the company Rublev that works as a modern day hue for Mummy Brown.

Ok, so now onto the results- Mummy Brown

-Toxicity- Not toxic [the pigments themselves aren't toxic, but the added driers are]

-Reactivity- Not reactive with sulfur

-Lightfastness- ASTM III

-Transparency/ Tinting strength- Very transparent

-Permanency- Permanent

Now, onto the test results in-depth


12/7/16 - 3/7/17

For this test, I take the pigment[s] in question and I combine them with a sulfur bearing pigment. The go-to pigment is Cadmium yellow. This test is to see if the pigment[s] in question begins to react with the sulfur and start to blacken. This is essentially exclusively a reaction reserved for heavy metal based pigments, copper and arsenic are some of the most reactive. I still like to run pigments through this test because it is good to know if sulfur is a reactive compound to the pigment[s] being tested.

The colors are labeled in the photograph on the test strip. The time between left and the right slide is 3 months. So after 3 months, you can see how/ if at all it has changed.

The photograph on the left is slightly darker because I ha to photograph it as the paint was still wet. The photograph on the right is actually a computer scan of the test strip. Either way, you can ultimately see that no change has taken place whatsoever in the paint other than maybe some shrinking. As far as the color goes, it has not blackened from sulfur exposure. This is something that I expected. Even in a few historical texts on Mummy Brown, there were mentions of it not falling prey to foul air, meaning sulfur exposure.

CONCLUSION- Not reactive with sulfur.


12/7/16 - 3/7/16

For this test, I have taken all 4 of the colors in question and I have exposed them all to direct sunlight for 3 months straight. This test shows how well the pigment[s] being questioned reacts to UV exposure. Ultimately this test tells how well a certain pigment/ color will hold up over time being exposed to light. Direct sunlight is one of the best ways to test how well a pigment is affected light because it speeds up the rate of exposure. The more lightfast a pigment, the less chance it has/ slower rate of fading to UV light exposure. Historically both Asphaltum and Mummy Brown have been said to be poor in the lightfastness category.

This has turned out to be true in my testing.

Listed here from left to right:

Mummy Brown

Transparent Mummy HUE

Basic Mummy


Mummy Brown, Basic Mummy, and Asphaltum are all strongly affected by the 3 months of sun exposure, whereas the Mummy HUE [red iron oxide] hasn't been affected by the exposure. The Asphaltum has gotten cooler in tone, which I will perceive as fading. This is noticeable in the Mummy Brown as well, you notice a cooling in tone on the right test strip that was exposed. This makes sense because Mummy Brown contains both dehydrated mammal flesh pigment as well as Asphaltum. The very small amount of Raw sienna doesn't help the lightfastness of Mummy Brown at all it seems. Perhaps the most affected by the UV exposure is the Basic Mummy, which is essentially only dehydrated mammal flesh as a pigment. It has changed in tone and faded completely from the unaffected test strip.

CONCLUSION- Not lightfast


For this test, I test how transparent the pigment[s] in question are. I also mix them with both Bone Black, as well as Lead white to show their tinting strength. All 4 of these colors have shown to be transparent.

Colors are listed as follows [vertically glazed over bone black and lead white]:

Mummy Brown

Transparent Mummy HUE

Basic Mummy


In addition to glazing these colors over bone black and lead white, I also mixed them each with bone black and lead white which can be seen on the right side of the test strips, labeled by pairs of mixtures with the proper name.

While all 4 of the colors were indeed transparent, the most opaque was the red iron oxide mummy HUE made by Rublev. The most transparent was the Basic Mummy paint. Historically speaking my results are accurate. Many texts write about Mummy Brown and Asphaltum both being very transparent colors, perfect for glazing, shading, and making flesh tones.

CONCLUSION- Very Transparent.


LEFT- 1/25/17

RIGHT- 3/15/17

The permanency test shows whether the pigment will fade or change in hue on its own [without direct sunlight exposure for an extended period of time or Sulphur exposure]. Even if a color is generally considered to be permanent on its own, over time it will fade/ change in hue quicker if it isn't a lightfast pigment.

CONCLUSION- Mummy Brown is a permanent color.


Officer Demaree, oil on linen panel, 11 X 14in. [3], 2017

For this test, I am employing the 3 colors that I have made [Basic Mummy, Mummy Brown, and Asphaltum] in an original oil painting created by me. Since Mummy Brown was generally considered to be best for glazing, flesh tone mixing, and shadows I figured the best way to test it would be to do a portrait style painting with my paints. I used both Mummy Brown and Basic Mummy for glazing + flesh tones in this painting, as well as for some of the background marks. I used the Asphaltum oil paint in the background tone.

This concludes my research on Mummy Brown. In this research blog I have included a brief history of Mummy Brown, how it was made, how I reproduced it, as well as how it tests and handles.



Watch a brief verbal explanation of my Mummy Brown findings



It has been roughly a year since I last updated this research blog. I have some big news in regards to my Mummy Brown research- Through a mutually beneficial trade I have acquired some genuine Egyptian human Mummy fragment remains that I will be using for testing and recreating historical Mummy Brown! This new chapter in my research has spurred me onwards to writing and publishing a book on the color Mummy Brown consulting all of my prior and future research on the topic.

This book will be the most thorough, and complete look at the historic color ever written and I believe that it will contribute much to art history academia as well as be a fascinating read for the average person who is not artistically inclined. There will be many beautiful images, data, and stories within. I am not 100% sure when the book will be completed, but I am working on it full-fledged as of the past week. I will be updating my blog again once the book is completed.

Also- I will be discontinuing the sale of my Mummy Brown (reproduction) oil paint talked about in this blog very soon and replacing it with a Mummy Brown (HUE), in accordance with my other 2 historic HUE oil paints (Emerald Green, and Tyrian Purple). The HUE that I will create will maintain a very close hue to historical Mummy Brown, as well as its transparent handling characteristics.

Expect 2 future updates for this blog entry-

1. The announcement of my Mummy Brown (HUE) oil paint for sale
2. The announcement of the completion of my book.

No further Mummy Brown research or tests will be posted in this blog. Everything going forward is being withheld for my book.

Take care!



Tyrian Purple - The Royal Pigment in oils

December 7th, 2018

Tyrian Purple - The Royal Pigment in oils

There is only one color more expensive and difficult to extract than that of genuine Lapis Lazuli, and that is Tyrian Purple (6,6′-dibromoindigo). Tyrian Purple is a red leaning violet color in the form of a dye which is extracted from the regional snail Bolinus brandaris found in the eastern Mediterranean sea. It takes the secretion of roughly 10,000 of these sea snails to produce just 1 gram of colored pigment, hence the high costs of this color historically and in the present day. Tyrian Purple also goes by the names “Imperial Purple” and “Royal Purple” which goes back to the original usage of this color. Originally Tyrian Purple was used as a dye for the clothing of royalty. Both the colors blue and purple [also saturated colors in general] were a rarity until the 1800’s. Often times to get a purple/ violet color a blue had to be mixed with a red ochre or a cinnabar/ vermilion to approximate a hue. 


Generally speaking the color Tyrian Purple is a dye as opposed to a pigment. While dyes and pigments can theoretically be used for the same purposes dyes tend to be less lightfast than pigments and better suited to staining things, rather than being used to paint with. A dye essentially dissolves into its binder, whereas a pigment is always a separate entity from its vehicle and is prone to separation. In this research blog entry, I am going to be exploring Tyrian Purple used within oil painting as a pigment would be used. There isn't much information regarding Tyrian Purple's use within oil painting, so I took it upon myself to run it through some tests and even use it in a final painting that conceptually and aesthetically highlights Tyrian Purple as a color!


I am going to show some examples of the usage of Tyrian Purple as a dye for clothing 


Byzantine robe, 11th century 


Burial Shroud for Emperor Charlemagne, 814


Like the color blue, purple/ violet was a color very difficult to obtain and most often reserved for royalty- sometimes by law. These fabric examples display Tyrian Purple being used for its primary use as a dye for clothing. As I have stated above Tyrian Purple is first and foremost a dye, which means that its historical application within oil painting will inevitably be limited, similar to other dyes occasionally used for painting. For this reason, I have taken it upon myself to test how Tyrian Purple behaves when bound in walnut oil as a vehicle. Similarly to my research on Emerald Green and Mummy Brown, I will be running Tyrian Purple though tests that test its lightfastness when exposed to 3 months of sunlight, reactivity to sulfur [mixed with cadmium yellow], permanency, and transparency. Just like with Emerald Green and Mumy Brown I will be taking a hue and a color that is similar in its physical makeup and run it through the same tests. The hue color will be "Dioxazine Purple", which is generally one of the most reliable and "go-to" options when a single pigment violet color is wanted. The similar color in makeup will be a genuine Indigo, which is also a dye. The Indigo that I am using is bound in linseed oil by a company called "Natural Pigments" with their oil paint line "Rublev". This indigo is labeled as "Maya Blue" because the indigo dye is on a base of palygorskite clay, this factor could produce different results than plain indigo might produce- this one is perhaps more stable. 



Here is my sample of Tyrian Purple that I acquired through Kremer Pigments. While Tyrian Purple is commercially readily available, it is only for those who can afford it. This small sample of Tyrian Purple that I have cost me $107 USD + shipping. This hefty sum for a mere 25mg of powder. Tyrian Purple is easily the most expensive pigment in the world, Vantablack may be up there as well if it were ever commercially available. Tyrian Purple easily takes the cake, however. 


Ok, so now that I have given a brief history on how Tyrian Purple is made, what it is, its historical usage, and my outline for what my research will entail- I will now share the results of my research with you.


1st Test- Reactivity



5/9/17 - 8/1/17


Going into this test I suspected that none of the 3 pigments in question would be reactive with sulfur, and I was right. Generally, the only pigments that you can count on being reactive with sulfur bearing pigments are heavy metals such as copper, arsenic, and lead. This test is time based, as I generally give 1-3 months to wait and see if a recation occurs between the pigment in question vs. the sulfur bearing pigment.


CONCLUSION- Not reactive.


2nd Test- Lightfastness



5/9/17 - 8/1/17


This test is always the juiciest and most anticipated test out of all of them, and for good reason. Lightfastness tells us how well the color will hold up over time given exposure to UV light. So what I have found here is that both Dioxazine Purple and Indigo have held up well. This is a time-based test, I usually allow 3 months of direct sun exposure to see how much/ if at all a color will fade or change in appearance. The Indigo here is on a base of palygorskite clay, so this may have influenced its stability here, as indigo is generally less lightfast. Tyrian Purple bound within oil is without a doubt not lightfast. If you look at the "in" sample vs the "out" sample [indoor vs outdoor] the indoor sample has retained some of its color, whereas the sun exposed sample has had its saturation completely obliterated. I had to photograph these test strips personally because my scanner wasn't depicting the differences adequately. 


CONCLUSION- Not lightfast. 


3rd Test- Transparency



With this test here you can see that I have mixed all 3 colors- Dioxazine Purple, Indigo, and Tyrian purple with Lead white and Bone black. I have also taken a small amount of Tyrian Purple and glazed it over lead white. According to the glaze and the mixing with black and white, I would have to say that Tyrian Purple is a weak tinter and is transparent. I am skeptical to see how much the data would differ had I had a larger sample of Tyrian Purple to work form for my testing. I think however that it would still lean on the transparent and weak tinter side. 


CONCLUSION- Transparent? [data is limited]


4th Test- Permanency



LEFT- 5/9/17 [aged almost 3 months]

RIGHT- 8/1/17 [fresh]


As you can see Tyrian Purple itself shifts in hue on its own with out direct exposure to sunlight, for this reason, I cannot call it permanent. It shifts rather quickly as well. Within the course of a few days to a week the color shifts to a warmer, less saturated violet color. Granted the fresh sample of Tyrian contains a little more pigment, it is very obvious that it has lost saturation. 



CONCLUSION- Not permanent.


5th Test- Pigment In Practice



For this test I have employed both genuine Indigo, as well as Tyrian Purple in this painting. The Indigo has mostly been used as a background color in which I painted wet into wet, the Tyrian Purple was used in the pendant that you see on the shirt. The Tyrian Purple has faded since it was painted fresh. 


I have thoroughly enjoyed researching Tyrian Purple, one pigment that I place in a handful of other extraordinary pigments that I am glad that I got to test in the realm of oil painting. Now that I have tested Emerald Green, Mummy Brown [reproduction], and Tyrian Purple I have my eyes on genuine Indian Yellow. Hopefully, this can be a reality!




Watch a brief verbal explanation of my Tyrian Purple findings



I have created an oil paint HUE of Tyrian Purple in linseed oil using a careful blend of both Genuine Indigo and Genuine Alizarin Crimson.

I am using both genuine Indigo as well as genuine Alizarin Crimson to approximate a very close hue of Tyrian Purple. Historically Madder Lake was used in renaissance purple/ violet hues but in the interest of keeping this product cost-available, I have chosen to substitute Madder Lake with its synthetic counterpart Alizarin Crimson. Both are chemically very similar with the primary difference being that Alizarin Crimson is a more concentrated man-made version of Madder lake with fewer impurities causing for a more saturated color.

Other red and blue colors were used to approximate purple/ violet hues in renaissance painting but Indigo and Madder Lake pigments make for the best Tyrian Purple hue in terms both of the appearance of the color itself, as well as how the color handles.This hue of mine is a very close approximation to how the genuine color behaves in oils.

I use no additives! No waxes, fillers, chalks, driers etc. Just pure pigment and oil hand-mulled! Because of this purity and old-school method, some separation between oil and pigment may occur in the tube and this is normal. I aim for this to be minimal.


-Indigo (NB1)

-Alizarin Crimson (PR83)


Linseed Oil


-Toxicity- NON-TOXIC

-Reactivity- Not reactive with sulfur

-Lightfastness- ASTM III

-Transparency/ Tinting strength- Transparent

-Permanency- Permanent

-Drying time- Slow

You can purchase my Tyrian Purple HUE here - Tyrian Purple (HUE)


Emerald Green - The Deadly Pigment And Its Handling Characteristics

December 7th, 2018

Emerald Green - The Deadly Pigment And Its Handling Characteristics

PG21- TOXICITY=Extremely Toxic [contains Arsenic and Copper]

REACTIVITY= Highly Reactive to Sulfur

PERMANENCE= Not Permanent. Hue shifts after a few weeks to a month


TRANSPARENCY= Semi-Transparent

I would like to share with you all some research that I have compiled in regards to one of the most infamous pigments in paintings history. This pigment is of course "Emerald Green", also known as "Paris Green", and "Veronese Green", as well as a host of other less commonly used names.This pigment was the breakthrough green pigment of the 1800's, as it was very vivid, and it wasn't a mixture or a hue, it was a single pigment color like nobody had seen by the time it was released. It was first synthesized in Schweinfurt, Germany by two men, Russ and Sattler around the year 1814 in an effort to improve on the chemically similar "Scheele's Green", as this new green was meant to be more stable. Both were incredibly toxic however.

Chemical Composition of "Scheele's Green" - (copper arsenite)

Chemical Composition of "Emerald Green" - (copper(II) acetoarsenite)

Both pigments contained elements of Copper as well as Arsenic, which made them very dangerous if used improperly. Toxic pigments were nothing new in the art world, however- we had been using heavy metal based pigments for 1000's of years at this point, including both copper and arsenic based pigments. In fact, the only white based paint we had until the 1800s and the introduction of Zinc White was "Flake White" (Lead Carbonate). One key difference is that in the 1800's the world was changing vastly and many of the ways people in this time period handled things were very dangerous and flat out strange to us now. They didn't know any better.

Cocaine was part of the Original Coca-Cola beverage, Heroin was essentially a medicine, deadly pigments containing lead, copper, mercury, and arsenic were routinely used in all forms of decoration [oil paint, house paint, clothing dye etc.]. Emerald Green as a dry powder pigment was also used as an insecticide during WW2, as well as a rodenticide in Paris sewers [hence the name Paris Green. If there was ever a time in history to be living on the edge, it was the 1800's. Emerald Green went out of production around the 1960's once it finally became banned to produce and sell. There are still ways to obtain it as a dry pigment, but it can't be commercially sold, and generally has overall been replaced by much safer alternatives, mostly hue combinations of yellow, blue, white, and the Pthalo colors. It is very difficult to come by Emerald Green these days, you can get the dry pigment through hard to find sales via the internet, also you may be so lucky to stumble upon Vintage intact oil paint tubes, like I did.

I stumbled upon these 4 vintage Emerald Green in the spring of 2016 through sources in which I will keep to myself.

The tubes listed are as follows (From Left to Right)

1. Emerald Green- Rowney & Co. - Very Old, likely Early 1900's

2. Emerald Green- Rowney Georgian - 1940's-1950's

3. Emerald Green- Roberson & Co. - Likely the oldest of the bunch, Late 1800's- Early 1900's

4. Emerald Green- Winsor & Newton - 1920-1950 ?

All of the tubes are 60-100+ years old. Pretty cool, I know. I also have an old tube of Carmine oil paint dated at 1889 that id like to test and show off eventually as well.

I have conducted some tests regarding the performing characteristics of Emerald Green. Among these tests are



-Transparency/ Mixing


-Pigment in practice



In this test I have taken 5 genuine vintage Emerald Green oil paints,
1 genuine Malachite oil paint,1 suspect Emerald Green labeled as "Emerald Stone Green" on the tube dated to be from early 1900's, and mixed all 7 tubes with Cadmium Yellow to see if the sulfur content would react with the copper content within these 7 colors. The results tell it all. The 5 genuine Emerald Green's [Copper/ Arsenic based] turned dark green/ blackish. The Malachite didnt seem to be affected by the introduction of a sulfur containing paint. This caused suspicion as to whether it was the copper, or the arsenic in the Emerald Green's harshly reacting with the sulfur in the Cadmium Yellow. Judging by this test I would have to say that it was the Arsenic that was reacting harshly to the sulfur, as the Malachite didnt seem to react [Copper Carbonate] The "Emerald-Stone Green" appeared to not be genuine, very likely a very old hue-imitation of Emerald Green, as it didnt change at all with the introduction of the Cadmium Yellow [Sulfur bearing pigment]

I did some additional studies regarding the reactivity of this pigment.

I mixed a different pigment with Emerald Green that also contains Sulfur, like the cadmium yellow prior.


Blue pigment being used is Ultramarine Blue (A complex sulfur-containing sodium aluminum silicate)

The shift over a one month period of time between Ultramarine Blue and Emerald Green is subtle. I definitely detect a shift in hue, as seen with the cadmium/ emerald mixtures, although not as strong. This could be for a variety of reasons. There could be a lower Sulfur content in Ultramarine Blue vs Cadmium Yellow, and/or it could be the fact that the hue of Emerald Green in oil paint form naturally shifts in hue- which I have found and documented that it does. In this test sample you can see Ultramarine Blue alone, Emerald Green alone, as well as the mixture between the two, and then you can see the changes brought on by a month of waiting. If you look at the small sample of Emerald Green on the right on both pictures you will see that Emerald Green slightly shifted on its own. I have noticed this in all of my Emerald Green samples. It isnt a permanent pigment in the sense that its hue does shift. More on this later.


Left to Right"

"Moss Green- Vintage 1889 French Oil Paint

"Emerald Green hue" - Marie's

"Emerald Green hue" - Old Holland

Genuine Emerald Green- Matuda

This picture samples mostly Emerald Green HUES, as well as one Genuine Emerald Green mixed with Cadmium Yellow. You can easily see the difference between the hues vs the genuine Emerald Green when mixed with the Cadmium Yellow. The Emerald hues dont change after the one month, while the genuine Emerald Green has began to darken drastically, due to presence of Sulfur in the Cadmium Yellow and Copper/ Arsenic in the Emerald Green.

CONCLUSION- Emerald Green is HIGHLY reactive with Sulfur, and will darken upon being exposed to it.


During the summer of 2016 I decided that I was going to study Emerald Green (PG21) with some standard tests to share valuable data with other art history fans. The timing was perfect, as I was able to also document the Lightfastness of Emerald Green via making 2 identical test strips containing 2 different Emerald Green HUES, as well as 2 different Emerald Green GENUINE oil paints- Keeping 1 indoors out of the sun, and the other in a window to capture the full North American sunlight for 3 months. Usually, it is recommended to expose the paint strip to direct sunlight for 1 full year to get the best results, but I figured 3 months in the summer sun should at least bare some acceptable changes in my results.



The color samples used are as follows-

Top- Emerald Green GENUINE - Matuda

Right- Emerald Green HUE - Rowney

Bottom- Emerald Green HUE- Old Holland

Left- Emerald Green GENUINE- Winsor & Newton

You can see from this side by side comparison that there is a subtle difference between the left and the right panel. The right panel all color samples seem to slightly be showing a chalking effect that I believe would be more noticeable had I exposed them for a year, instead of 3 months. I notice no significant differences between the hues and the genuine Emerald Greens.

CONCLUSION- I would say that Emerald Green is Lightfast, meaning that exposure to UV isnt a huge issue in the immediate future of a painting containing Emerald Green, however it isnt ultra-resistant either. It sits in the middle ground level with a rating of II.


Bone Black on the Left

Lead White on the Right

With this test I am trying to figure out just how transparent Emerald Green really is. As you can see in the photographic testing above, I have thinned Emerald Green down and did 4 thin layers over the Bone Black and the Lead White with graduating opacity as the layers move downwards. In all layers over both the black and the white you can see that it is definitely slightly transparent, although not overbearingly. It lays in a middle ground area. Through my actual testing of Emerald Green in an actual painting it tends to become slightly transparent even without a thinner medium if spread out, although as I said- it isn't on the high end of transparency, more along the lines of somewhere in the middle.

You can see the mixture of Bone Black + Emerald Green and the mixture of Lead White and Emerald Green in the second photo. The tinting strength is medium, coinciding with its transparency rating.

CONCLUSION- I rate Emerald Green as Semi-Transparent [2.5 / 5]. and is a medium opacity tinter.


This test was a bi-product of other tests, as in I wasn't originally planning on testing the permanency of Emerald Green but through my testing of its reactivity I noticed that Emerald Green shifted in hue on its own, without being exposed to sulfur. I found this very odd so I figured I would conduct a little research on how much time it took, and how drastic the changes generally were. In this 1st photo, you can see a mini- time lapse of how the color shifted from its original hue to something else gradually over the period of some months.

1st panel= 6/9/16

2nd Panel= 7/9/16

3rd panel= 10/28/16

The amount the original minty Emerald Green hue has gradually shifted in almost 5 months is very evident, and while the color hasnt necessarily darkened, it has dulled to an extent and become a more "poison" looking green more in hue of Scheele's Green ironically.

Left= Fresh Emerald Green [ 10/28/16 ]

Right= Dry Emerald Green [ 8/9/16 ]

Clear evidence that the minty hue of Emerald Green fresh out of the tube isnt permanent. It ALWAYS [in all of my research] shift a little more to a grassy/ poison emerald green color and loses the minty intensity it has while fresh out of the tube.

CONCLUSION- Emerald Green is a beautiful single pigment color, but it definitely isn't a permanent pigment. If one were to use it [unless you're using it for restoration, or historical integrity practices I wouldn't recommend it] it will not keep its original hue. It will very quickly shift from minty emerald green to a grassy emerald green. This shift happens in a matter of a few weeks to a month. The change is very quick, and I'm not sure how much it will shift over time. I have only been testing since May of 2016.


"Little Boy"- Oil On Linen/Panel, 2016

To top off my research on the working properties of Emerald Green, I figured id show off a painting that I painted primarily using Emerald Green unmixed in a bulk of the painting. This painting rings true many of my findings above. You can see Emerald Green's transparency in the body of the bomb capsule, you can see some of the lead-oil primed linen panel beyond the thin veil of Emerald Green. You can also see thicker areas where I used Emerald Green straight, where it isn't transparent. Also, I made sure that I used the Emerald Green with Genuine Naples Yellow, as there is no reactivity between the two! [due to lack of sulfur] plus in all honesty genuine Naples Yellow is the most beautiful yellow in my opinion. Also, this one was kinda a bonus- but the painting is of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima [in my own painting style of course] and the pigment I'm using is one of the deadliest pigments around. Both synthetic, man-made destruction. Kind of a cool little coincidence in my opinion.

Well, this concludes my 1st entry on Emerald Green. I will be posting more on Emerald Green in the future on this SAME blog. I have 1 more major test I would like to conduct, as well as a few smaller things too.

Until next time, take care folks!



Watch a brief verbal explanation of my Emerald Green findings



I have created a carefully crafted Emerald Green oil paint hue that I am offering for sale!

This tube of oil paint is a carefully blended hue of the historical 19th-century color "Emerald Green (PG21)". This hue stands out from the rest of the Emerald Green hues on the market for a variety of reasons. The 1st and most important reason is that I myself have conducted research on the working properties of genuine PG21 Emerald Green and own 5 vintage tubes of it. This prior research and genuine vintage examples at my disposal has given me an advantage at getting as close as possible to the real thing with a mixed hue.

Far too often do I come across artist grade brands selling Emerald Green hues that are too green/ dark (due to the Pthalo green) or too yellow (due to the Hansa Yellow) or too chalky and opaque (due to the Titanium White). Genuine Emerald Green is a minty Green out of the tube that is very transparent. I have carefully blended 3 pigments to achieve this transparent minty hue. You can see a comparison in the last picture of this listing between one of my vintage Emerald Green oil paint tubes made by Rowney (Left) and my Emerald Green hue (Right). For the most part, they are very similar in hue and transparency. I would say the only difference is that my hue is very slightly warmer, this is to keep the color more saturated, as there is 
alot of white in this mixture which can cause a dulling effect. The transparency of genuine Emerald Green (PG21) is also a little bit higher. It is my firm opinion that Titanium White has no place in the reproduction of Emerald Green because it is far too opaque to match the transparent minty nature of Emerald Green. 

2 more important things to keep in mind about my Emerald Green hue that separates it from the other commercially available hues- 

Instead of Hansa yellow, I use 'Benzimidazolone Yellow Light (PY175)' which has been studied by 'GOLDEN' to be slightly more lightfast than Hansa Yellow, a common color used when creating an Emerald Green hue. 

I use no additives! No waxes, fillers, chalks, driers etc. Just pure pigment and oil hand-mulled! Because of this purity and old-school method, some separation between oil and pigment may occur in the tube and this is normal. I aim for this to be minimal. 


Zinc Oxide (PW4)

Benzimidazolone Yellow Light (PY175)

Pthalo Green (PG7)


Linseed Oil


-Toxicity- NON-TOXIC

-Reactivity- Not reactive with sulfur

-Lightfastness- ASTM I

-Transparency/ Tinting strength- Semi-transparent 

-Permanency- Permanent

-Drying Time- Slow

You can purchase this oil paint here- Emerald Green (HUE)