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Thread: Lemon yellow was a thing then?

  1. #1
    Ordinary Seaman
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    Default Lemon yellow was a thing then?

    So I started my rookieness with Sails of Glory and played the starting frigates with my girlfriend, and later today we're doing the 3rd rates :)

    Anyways, I noticed the masts are painted in a lemon yellow, which I'm feeling was not a pigment in use back then. I was under the impression that all yellows were more ochre, Naples Yellow, warm yellows. A quick search would hint that I'm right:

    "The pigment known commonly as "lemon yellow" could consist of barium chromate, strontium chromate, or a
    mixture of lead chromate with lead sulphate. The preparation was described by Vauquelin in 1809, but some years seem to have passed before it was produced commercially. During the nineteenth century, it was often mixed with strontium chromate, and the name 'lemon yellow' was liable to be used for barium chromate, strontium chromate and a mixture of the two."

    ...So that would make lemon (cool) yellow available from say, 1812 on only... As I'm gonna paint the sails and yards and masts later on, I'd like your input on this color. It looks pretty and I like yellow, but the historical geek within me, you know...

    –Rolando


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  2. #2
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    Sooo I painted the lemon yellow out with ochre tones. A bit later, I saw these pics of a Hermione 38-gun frigate replica, with some nice lemon yellow on her bow and stern!

    Well, not on her masts tho!

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    Still have to paint their mast rings/rope?

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    L'Hermoine

  3. #3
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Here is a shot of Hermione's bow I took in Yorktown Rolando.

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    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    I went with the ochre masts too, Rolando. I went a step farther, and made English yards black, French yards ochre except for the courses which I made brown, and American course masts and all yards white. It helps make three ships with identical hulls look completely different.

    https://sailsofglory.org/attachment....0&d=1521586085
    Last edited by Dobbs; 04-07-2019 at 18:06.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the advice on your experience, and the Hetmione photo, Bligh. I wonder how speculative the restorers were on color shades! (Like I would know better!)

    Any thoughts on the Spanish?

    Here's the Proserpine, finished I think. The orange brown of the rigging was the same as the factory color. All critiques welcome, please!
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  6. #6
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    So I've seen some more drawings and paintings of the yellow masts, but some lemony yellow, some more medium yellow (like yolk) and some ochre, that could be varnished wood.

    The Spanish artist Carlos Parrilla Penagos paints all of his Spanish vessels with lemon or medium yellow lower masts. I've read somewhere in Todobabor.es that the yellow was by a royal decree.

    https://www.carlosparrillapenagos.es...g?t=1477069594

    I just wish there was some discussion somewhere about the shade of yellow. It's very important for the modeler in me B) . I know people in the 1700's and 1800's would just call all those shades just "yellow" and be content with it. Especially the military and quartermasters. The difference to them may have been too petty to care about. Hell, most people today wouldn't care to differentiate either, save for the artistically-inclined or decorators, fashion people, etc. But still...

    –Rolando

  7. #7

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    Shades used would have varied considerably, both at application and in practice. Paints were not subject to rigorous quality control and whilst "recipes" were followed there were inevitable variations. Many were produced locally, and often the require colour might not have been available so a close (or even not so close) substitute would be made. In the RN it was not uncommon for ships' captains to be issued with funding for insufficient paint and hence they made up the shortfall from their own pockets (there is a well-known letter from a frigate captain to Their Lordships; in response to an order to repaint his ship with the funds provided he wrote to ask which side Their Lordships required him to paint!)

    Once applied and exposed to wind, wave and sunlight, paints would immediately start to fade. Again, this was not consistent, so a wide variety could be expected to be seen in service. And thats not just an old thing; I was the naval architect for the Type 22 frigates during the 1990s, I recall HMS CORNWALL coming out of an upkeep period where some of her deck paint had been replaced. The new paint was almost black, paint applied the previous year was a nice dark grey, but older coats were faded to varying degrees, some almost the same pale grey shade as the ships side and superstructure

  8. #8
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    To add to the very erudite assessment that Dave has provided here.

    This bit about the repainting of HMS Victory may also be of interest Rolando.

    https://www.historyanswers.co.uk/his...on-hated-them/

    The more research we do into History, the less sure we become about the " Facts." Whatever they are!

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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