The surprising abundance of raw materials for black pigments found in 50 historic sources covering a period of about 350 years (1350-1700) required the establishment of a classification system. Based on the raw materials used, seven classes of black pigments for watercolors were identified. The classes are further divided in sub-classes ( Figure 2).
The following seven sections discuss each class of black pigments that were either mentioned in textual sources for illuminators and limners, or were identified on miniature illuminations. Each of the seven classes is first introduced by a general description of the preparation principle. This is followed by an explanation of the origin of every raw material with a focus on the availability in regions under Burgundian-Habsburg reign. A source-based description of the preparation of the related black pigment is provided. At the end of each class, the corresponding historic sources are presented in chronological schemes to allow for quick orientation. If available, reconstructions of historic recipes are included as ‘how to’ reconstruction manuals, containing ‘lessons learned’.