The Pigment Compendium

The Pigment Compendium is a pioneering work in the fields of conservation and conservation science. Painstakingly researched and compiled to an unmatched standard of accuracy and scientific rigour, its component parts provide the definitive resource for anyone involved in the world of pigments.

Written by Dr. Nicholas Eastaugh, Valentine Walsh, Dr. Tracey Chaplin and Dr. Ruth Siddall, it is published by Elsevier.

You can read some brief biographies of the authors on the team page; for details on how to order any part of the Compendium, please see the orders page.

A Dictionary of Historical Pigments

A Dictionary of Historical Pigments cover

Drawn together from extensive analytical research into the physical and chemical properties of pigments, this essential reference to pigment names and synonyms describes the inter-relationship of different names and terms.

The Dictionary covers the field worldwide from pre-history to the present day, from rock art to interior decoration, from ethnography to contemporary art.

Drawing on hundreds of hard-to-obtain documentary sources as well as modern scientific data, each term is discussed in detail, giving both its context and composition.

Extract from the ‘Dictionary’

This extract contains a complete listing for the chemical compounds identified in the Dictionary as having significance in historical pigments. It can also be used as a systematic way of referring to these compounds.

Download extract

This extract is an Adobe PDF document: reading it requires the Adobe Reader program.

Optical Microscopy of Historical Pigments

Optical Microscopy of Historical Pigments cover

This is an essential purchase for all painting conservators and conservation scientists dealing with paintings and painted objects. It provides the first definitive manual dedicated to optical microscopy of historical pigments.

Illustrated throughout with full colour images reproduced to the highest possible quality, this book is based on years of painstaking research into the visual and optical properties of pigments.

The book includes, introductory essays, pigments in colour order, including photographs, optical analysis, summaries, references, a full glossary with synonyms, and tables of properties.

Extract from ‘Optical Microscopy’

This extract is a complete description of the basic optical properties used to characterise historical pigments under the polarising light microscope.

Download extract

This extract is an Adobe PDF document: reading it requires the Adobe Reader program.

Pigment Compendium interactive CD-ROM

The CD offers a huge reservoir of information about each of the many pigments stored on its database. Conservators and conservation scientists especially can use this CD to enhance their work.

The database works on numerous levels, including all of the background information about each pigment: basic data, morphology, PLM data, images—thumbnail and full size—giving text information of where the image is from.

Updates & Errata

Pigment Compendium Update

Owners of the Pigment Compendium interactive CD-ROM can download this update which resolves minor issues with the search function and interface, as well as fixing a recently discovered but rare conflict with system security permissions that may prevent the Compendium loading on some computers. To install the update, download the file to a local temporary folder and double-click to run.

Download update

This update file requires that the Pigment Compendium CD be installed on your computer.

Pigment Compendium Errata

Great care has been taken in the production of the Pigment Compendium; however, as with all works on this scale, mistakes have crept in. Consequently, we have published a short list of corrections which you can download here.

Download errata

This is an Adobe PDF document: reading it requires the Adobe Reader program.

Ordering the Compendium

You can order the Pigment Compendium directly from the authors. Please see the orders page for details.

In this section