Frequently Asked Questions

View all FAQs

What is the difference between original colour, contemporary colour and modern colour?

Most maps and prints printed prior to 1870 were printed without colour, using black ink. However, many publishers added colour (typically watercolour, but occasionally gouache) shortly after printing and before the maps or prints were bound or mounted on linen for sale.
The following terminology is used to describe colour:
Original colour
Colour added by the publisher from a known palette at the time of publication.
Contemporary colour
Colour added at, or around, the time of publication from a colourist other than publisher, typically using a palette different from that usually associated with the publication.
“Later”, “period”, “old”, “recent” colour
Colour added at some time between, say, ten years of publication and today. These phrases, if used, should specify an approximate date or period, and typically do not denote an item of greater value than one with modern colour.
Modern colour
Colour added recently, probably within the last 30 years.
We try to only offer books, maps and prints in original, or contemporary colour, or uncoloured. This is because we believe in selling material in as close to its original condition as possible.
We say “try” because, just like you, we are collectors at heart and, just occasionally, we abandon our principles for that “must have” item! In these rare instances, please rest assured that the item will be clearly described as such.