Good nature

Roman and Williams brings to life Farrow & Ball's new colour palette, which was inspired by Patrick Syme’s Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours

When it comes to dissecting colour, few do it better than the British paint purveyors Farrow & Ball. The Dorset-based company recently launched a new palette of colours, produced in collaboration with the Natural History Museum in London, titled ‘Colour by Nature’.

Inspired by Patrick Syme’s 1814 tome Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours, that was notably used by Charles Darwin while on his seminal voyage on HMS Beagle, the book carefully recorded the exact colours and corresponding parts of animals, vegetables and minerals in the natural world and established it as a cherished resource, embraced by both scientists and artists alike.

To bring the collection to life, Farrow & Ball’s creative director Charlotte Crosby worked with Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, the founders of the design studio Roman and Williams, who created an evocative installation of 18th century bontanical models and sculptures of birds, all painted in the new palette of colours, to highlight the original explorer’s spirit of the book’s origins. Displayed within cabinets of curiosities at their RW Guild space in Manhattan, the collection’s rich shades of oranges, reds, opulent greens and blues, couldn’t have been better placed for their debut.

‘We were intrigued by the precise lyricism of Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours and how it captures the subtlest of chromatic differences with consistent terminology,’ says Standefer. ‘It represents an incredible encyclopedia that provided clarity for colour at a time when that didn’t exist.’

Film: Adrian Gau

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.