CA Mushrooms
CA Mushrooms

Book Review

Color Standards and Color Nomenclature
(facsimile edition)

By Robert Ridgway
Originally published by the author in 1912
ISBN 978-1-4212-6188-1 (paper, $23.99)
ISBN 978-1-4212-0840-4 (hardback, $45.99)
Elibron Classics, 2004/2005

“Ridgway,” as this color guide is commonly called, was the color reference of choice for North American mycologists throughout most of the 20th century and one needs a copy to understand what “Prout’s brown,” “Dragon’s blood red,” and others of the 1115 named colors are. Unfortunately only a small number of copies were produced and now used copies are hard to find and prodigiously expensive. Thus, news that a color facsimile version of the book (for quite a while, a black and white [really!] version has been available) has been published seems welcome indeed.

But save your money. Although the sample page on Elibron’s website looks not-too-bad, a side-by-side comparison of the printed facsimile with the real thing showed that the new version is far from true to the original. The neutral gray of the pages is much darker, the white chips show as a dingy gray, and the color chips are darker and muddy. At best, this version can provide a general sense of what the colors are; at worst, it is very misleading. Accurately reproducing such a book at anything approaching a reasonable price is a very difficult undertaking and, unfortunately, Elibron did not succeed.

— Review by Steve Trudell, Seattle, WA
— Originally published in Fungi