The Dye Woorkes:

Historic Dye Recipes

In my research into medieval and Renaissance dyeing and textile cleaning, several manuscripts were repeatedly referenced in secondary sources--but many of them, unfortunately, were in German, in Italian, or in English but unpublished. I have translated and transcribed several of these sources over the years, and hope to make future research into period dyeing practices easier by making my translations & transcriptions available to others.

The Dye Woorkes contains the various manuscripts & books that I have translated and transcribed for study, as well as Ciba reviews and other out-of-copyright works on period dyeing.

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Original Dye Books & Manuscripts

Dye Recipes from Leyden Papyrus X (c. 300 A.D.)
Dye Recipes from Stockholm Papyrus (c. 300-400 A.D.) aka Papyrus Graecus Holmiensis
Dye Recipes from the Mappae Clavicula (c. 850-900)
Dye Recipes from the Innsbruck Manuscript (c 1330)
Dye Recipes from the Segreti per Colori (15th c.)
The Allerley Mackel: A dyeing and textile cleaning manual from 1532
Dyeing & Cleaning recipes from the Secrets of Alexis of Piedmont (1580)
A Profitable Book of cleaning & dyeing recipes (1580/1605)
The Whole Art of Dyeing (1669/1705)
Ziegler's Little Dye Book (1677)
Artisan's recipe book for dyeing wool c. 1680, in german (with fibre swatches)
The Dyer's Assistant in the art of dying wool and woollen goods (1778/1800)
The Country Dyer's Assistant (1798)
The Domestic Dyer (1811)
The Family Dyer and Scourer (1831)
Dye Receipts from 300 Miscellaneous Receipts (1830-1860)
Home Fabric Dyes Mentioned in Confederate Newspapers (1860)
Dye Recipies from the Household Cyclopedia (1880)

Articles on Period Dyeing Practices

New! A Lytell Dye Book : Redactions & recreations of medieval & period dye recipes.
New! Images of Dyers and Dyeing Technology through History
Coppers, Kettles and Vats: Equipment in Early Dyehouses by Sidney Edelstein
Ciba 1: Medieval Dyeing
Ciba 9: Dyeing and Tanning in Classical Antiquity

Period Dyeing on the Web

New! An Overview of Period Dyes by Kateryn Rous
Dyeing: history to 1600 by Anna Liese
Colors, Dyestuffs, and Mordants of the Viking Age by Carolyn Priest-Dorman
A Brief History of Dyestuffs & Dyeing by Heather McCloy
Dyeing in the Ancient World
What the Irish Wore: Dyes & Dyeing
Medieval Dyeing: Dyestuffs
Period Dyes and their Modern Color Equivalents. Useful if you want to ensure your clothing colors are accurate, but don't have the resources to dye them yourself. A derivative page showing the dmc colors is Here.
Colours and Dyes for 15th Century Clothing
To Make a Beautiful Color: Trade Dyes in the 16th Century by Gwyn Carnegie
Tyrian Purple
Orchil, the Poor Person's Purple by Chris Laning
To Dye a Saffron Color: Experiements in dyeing an Irish Leine, by Kass McGann.
Medieval Textiles, issue 29. Articles on dyeing with weld, woad and madder
New! Lac Dye in Medieval Persia by Roxane Farabi
Dyeing Red (with an SCA focus)
A Tale of Madder: Notes on a large-scale madder dyeing project
Cold-dyeing Wool with Madder
Dyeing with Safflower
Lichen Purples
Dyeing with Indigo: A Natural Fermentation Vat The recipe described here is authentic to the 16th century; dyeing blue with madder + bran + indigo + washing soda (or an alkaline substance) is described in the Profitable Book, c. 1580.

Books & Bibliographies on Period Dyes/Dyeing

You can find additional works on medieval & renaissance dyeing at:

Period Dyeing Supplies

Period Dyestuff Suppliers Sources for many hard-to-find period dyestuffs.
The Natural Dyeing Index by Anna Liese

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