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Downing — Exterior Paint Colors

Hints for Mixing Shades for Outside Painting
Downing, Andrew Jackson The Architecture of Country Houses, Including Designs for Cottages, and Farm-Houses, and Villas, with Remarks on Interiors, Furniture, and the best Modes of Warming and Ventilating, New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1850, page 203, fn.

Book Swatches, Studio Samples
Left: Hand-watercolored paint swatches — one of the first American published examples — in Downing, Alexander. Cottage Residences, 1842. The paper has yellowed, paint samples faded.
Right: Samples of paint made using Downing's 1850 The Architecture of Country Houses that provides "Hints for mixing shades for outside painting." Here, colors conform to Downing's recipes.

The following hints for mixing shades for outside painting, may be of service to persons in the country who have to depend on their own wits. The colors are supposed to be first finely ground in oil, and then mixed in small quantities with white-lead and boiled linseed oil. A few trials will enable the novice to mix agreeable neutral shades - especially if he will be content to add a very little of the darker shades at at time, and try the effect with the brush. After the proper shade is obtained, enough should be mixed at once to go over the whole surface.

Fawn color. White, yellow ochre, and Spanish brown.

Drab. White, Venetian red, burnt umber, with a little black.

Gray stone. White, lampblack, and a little Venetian red.

Brownstone. Spanish brown, chrome yellow, with a little white and lampblack.

French gray. White, ivory black, with a little Indian red and Chinese blue.

Slate color. White, lampblack, and a little Indian red.

Sage color. White, raw umber, Prussian blue, and Venetian red.

Straw color. White, yellow ochre, and orange chrome.

Chocolate. Spanish brown and black - or, for a lighter shade, Venetian red and black.

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