In planning this book and researching it, in turning it from a dissertation into an electronic book, I have had help from many people in many quarters.
This study crosses many disciplinary boundaries. As a result, I have been especially dependent on the expert advice of others. Among those, I would like to acknowledge the special efforts made on my behalf by Nicola Allen, archivist at the Royal Society of Arts and by Nicola's predecessor, Susan Bennett. Rolf Kuehni commented extensively on the portions of my work that coincide with his own, corrected my poor German, and arranged for me the loan of several very rare images. His outlook, that of a scientist interested in history, has been invaluable to me. Annik Pietsch, a colleague and friend from the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, helped me to understand many of the finer points of painting technique and loaned me images from her own dissertation. Ann Massing at the Hamilton Kerr Institute (Cambridge University) spent considerable time locating information for me and making sure it was right. Nick Eastaugh and Valentine Walsh, colleagues at The Pigmentum Project, in London, always seemed willing to drop everything to answer questions and to discuss the history and technology of pigments. Closer to home, the librarians and staff at the New York Public Library, in all eight divisions I regularly patronized, were unfailingly helpful and patient with my requests.
I am also grateful for the help of many people as I worked to produce an electronic book from what had been a more traditionally-formatted doctoral dissertation. My dissertation advisor, Elizabeth Garber, and her husband Don continued to provide advice and encouragement, usually over a spectacular meal. Anne-Marie Grimaud oversaw permissions and other details at French archives in her typically efficient manner when I couldn't go to Paris myself. Ariela Zycherman stepped in as I was drowning in details and sorted out the important from the merely interesting in the glossary. My brothers Benjamin and Jeremiah loaned me equipment and provided technical advice, photographic services, and reminders of life in the real world. It amazed and relieved me that my friend Michael Vitti ended every photography session with, "Well, that was fun."
As I was preparing my dissertation and later, I was privileged to be asked to present portions of my thesis in several venues. These opportunities allowed me to test ideas and crystallize thoughts. Shards of those presentations, and of papers included in Consumers and Luxury: Consumer Culture in Europe 1650–1850 and in the Journal of Design History (14, no. 2) appear here, reorganized and, I hope, improved by the helpful comments of listeners and readers.
The vagaries of financing an academic research project can exert a tremendous influence on the final shape of the result. My dissertation research was supported by the National Science Foundation's Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant program (SBER 95-20395) and by a Dibner Library Fellowship. A postdoctoral year at the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte allowed me to begin to explore the rich resources in German archives and libraries that supplement the dissertation research. More recently, and most important to this book, was the Gutenberg-e award from the American Historical Association. My most heartfelt thanks must go to the inventors and managers of that program and to the staff at Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia (EPIC) and at the AHA. I am especially grateful for the kindness and patience of Robert Townsend, Kate Wittenberg and Sharene Azimi. I had always planned that my dissertation would be published as an electronic book. If the Gutenberg-e project had not already existed, I would have wanted to invent a similar project. I hope that, had I been able to do that, I would have had the foresight to invent people as good as those with whom I worked here.^top
Home page image: Ignaz Schiffermüller, Versuch eines Farbensystems (Vienna, 1772), Table I. Courtesy Werner Spillmann collection, Basel, Switzerland.