In Two Parts.

The First being an Experimental Discovery of all the most useful Secrets in Dying Silk, Wool, Linnen and the Manufactures thereof, as Practised in England, France, Spain, Holland and Germany. To which is Added, A Discourse of Pot and Weyd Ashes, as well as several other Foreign Ingredients used in DYING. Written Originally in the German Language.

The Second Part is a General Instruction for the Dying of Wools and Woollen Manufactures of all Colours; for the Culture of the Drugs used in the Tinctorial Art, as also for the Dying of Hats; Published by the especial Command of the present French King in that Language, and Illustrated with several Philosophical and Practical Annotations by the German Translator.

[Transcriber's note: the original German book that made up part I of the Whole Art of Dying was the 1703 edition of a book originally published in 1685, "Ars Tinctoria Experimentalis, oder curieuse Wollkommene Endecken der Faerbe-kunst". The second part is a translation of the 1683 German work "Ars Tinctoria Fundamentalis, oder Gründliche Anweisung zur Färbenkunst", which was itself a translation of Colbert's 1669 work, "Instruction genérale pour la teinture des laines et manufacture de laine de toutes couleurs et pour la culture des drogues ou ingrediens qu'on y emploie."]

Both which are Faithfully rendred into English from their Respective Originals.

London, Printed by William Pearson, and sold by F. Nutt, near Stationers-Hall.


Transcribed by Drea Leed

To The Reader

A Perfect Discovery of the Art of Dying

A general Instruction for Dying Woollen Manufactures all sorts of Colours: And for the Culture of Druggs or Ingredients used therein.

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THE Ingenious Reader is hereby invited to the perusal of two Books equally Instructive and Advantagous. The first originally Written in the GERMAN Language is the Result of the long experience of the best Masters of the Tinctorial Art at FRANKFORT, NURENBERG, LEIPZIG, ERFURT, HAMBURG, GENEVA and the Low Countries; Collected by the diligent Inquiries, and at the great Expence of a Zealous Votary to Physical and Experimental Knowledge, who we are assured purchased most of the following Receipts at a very dear Rate, from those who valued themselves on being the sole Masters of them: By which Means the Reader is cheaply obliged with the Select Practical Secrets of several Nations, which must necessarily furnish abundant Hints for the Improvement of the useful Art of Dying; and enable the Intelligent Master of it to discover why the SPANISH, DUTCH, or any other Nation should be famed for Dying any particular Colour better than our own.

The second Tract was Written and Published in FRENCH by the especial Command of the present FRENCH King, and comprizes whatever could be suggested by the best judges of that Nation appointed by their Sovereign to Consult together in order to compleat the Theory and Practice of this no less Excellent and Necessary Art; To which purpose no expence or trouble was thought too much. And indeed there is no shadow of Reason why what is really found to be the Interest of that Nation in this particular; should not be unquestionably determin'd to be ours; since our Soil is at least as capable of producing any of the mentioned necessary Drugs, and if not more temperate, is still more particularly appropriated to the Culture of most of 'em than the so much boasted FRANCE. And if I am not mistaken, those Enemies of the ENGLISH Nation, who as maliciously as unjustly have deprived us of the Talent of Invention, have never yet presumed to dispute with us that of Improvement, even in a Degree very much exalted above that of our Neighbours. And as there are numerous Inventions, too tedious to be recited here, which a short Retrospection gives us a right to lay claim to: So the particular Improvements which our ENGLISH Manual Artists only have made to the Arts of Weaving, Glass-making, Iron, Steel, and all sorts of Metallick Works, Cabinet- making, Naval Architecture, Watch-making, &c. are so Prodigious, that the Traveller who only takes a view of the most finished pieces of all other Nations, (not excepting even those to whom we owe the Arts themselves) if he judges impartially must really be surprized to find them such clumsy indigested Lumps as they appear, when compared with the performances of our meanest Artists : It is this which hath at once raised the Envy, and occasioned the fraudulent practices of other Nations; who by repeated vain essayes finding themselves unable to equal us, are resolved to revenge their pretended injury by basest deceit : Hence it is that not only the Watch-makers of GENEVA, but those of FRANCE as well as other Countries, make bold with the Celebrated Names of TOMPION and QUARE to put off their worthless Performances at a high Rate, which if no better paid for than they deserve, would for ever remain in the Hands of their Makers. Nor is this the only particular in which the ENGLISH Artist is injured abroad: For throughout EUROPE the best Manufacturers which the shopkeeper can show are either ENGLISH, or such as are made in Imitation of them, and Knavishly sold as such to the great prejudice of the Ignorant Buyer.

If it be asked whence this Supereminence proceeds; I answer, That the Wise Indulgence of our Constitution, tenderly encourages Foreign Artists to settle, and consequently distribute their choicest Secrets amongst us, their property being always firmly secured to them, and our Courts of justice making no distinction betwixt a Native and a Foreigner, but always considering the Cause without the least Respect of Persons; an Impartiality very rarely found in other Nations. Besides, I cannot help owning that our Manual Artists seem to be endow'd with a greater share of judgment or a better Tast than their neighbours, to Evince the Truth, and prove the Happy Effects of which, to avoid a tedious Enumeration of Particulars, the Traveller as well as the Merchant is able to testify, that tho' FRANCE formerly furnished us with Hats, Stuffs and several other Manufactures, yet PARIS itself is obliged to own that they are at present stocked with much better from ENGLAND than they can make at home.

VENICE which not many Ages since was very Famous for supplying all Parts not only of EUROPE but of the whole World with its then unparallell'd Glass, is now content to buy it of ENGLAND. And whoever of late years pretends to the making of all Optical Glasses and Mathematical Instruments, it is out of Dispute amongst judges in what Country the best are to be found.

All which considered it would be as impertinent as unnecessary to urge the undoubted Advantage which may accrue from a judicious Comparison of our own, with the Methods of other Nations; since to that it is to be presumed we owe the greatest part of the Excellencies which we can pretend to Wherefore it cannot be very ungrateful to the ENGLISH Workman, to have the opportunity here offered of comparing his own Practice with the Theory and Practice of all EUROPE besides.

The Translator desires the Candid peruser would not expect accuracy in Terms of this Art, since he freely owns his Ignorance in it, and was only animated to this undertaking by the great Character some Master Dyers (both FRENCH and GERMANS) gave the book which hath been Printed in High Dutch as it is, three times within this two Years, besides the latter part its having been several times Printed alone. He was indeed unwilling that ENGLAND should want so useful a Book; and believing that it was not very easy to find a Dyer which understood both GERMAN and FRENCH, or had either leisure or opportunity, or perhaps thought it worth his while to learn, them he therefore perswaded himself that an indifferent Translation being better than none, he had a sort of right to be excused by his Generous Countrymen for whose Advantage he undertook this Difficult Task.

General Table of Contents or Index

Section I: A Perfect Discovery of the Art of Dying

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