Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749-1817) was a mineralogist and geologist at the mining school in Freiberg, Saxony. In his 1774 book On the External Characteristics of Fossils, he established a classification system to describe the colors of both fossils and minerals. Patrick Syme (1774-1845), an Edinburgh painter and art teacher, reconstructed Werner's colors by consulting actual minerals, paired the hues with examples from plant and animal life, and created the system of color swatches and descriptions that form the basis of this book.
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