Home Forums Medieval Which shades to use to paint historically, figurines of Welsh warriors? Reply To: Which shades to use to paint historically, figurines of Welsh warriors?


Dyestuffs were expensive … Most dyed cloth would fade quite quickly.

It’s easy to overemphasise the expense of dyestuffs, when most colours can be produced using readily available plants, bark or nuts. Onions are not particularly hard to grow, dandelions are easily found, and some common lichens can be used, for example. The key element is whether you have the time to spend gathering them or not.

The idea that old dyes faded quickly is a Victorian myth. While yellows are not particularly colourfast, dyes like madder and woad are very colourfast, even without a mordant.

Greens can be produced by using copper instead of iron as the mordant, so you don’t have to follow a two stage process. I forget which dyestuff you need for that though. I think it works with woad, but could be wrong.

There’s an interesting overview of dyeing that discusses the dyeing process and how mordant, temperature, etc. affect the final outcome. It focuses on the Viking Age but the techniques are relevant to 11th- to 13th-century Wales. https://www.academia.edu/4652690/Viking_Age_Dyes-_A_Brief_Overview

The other thing worth remembering is that linen is notoriously difficult to dye with natural dyes, and so it would be either natural or bleached.

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