[Robert Ridgway, Color Standards and Color Nomenclature (1912). Available from the Internet Archive.]
In Smithsonian Magazine, How Red Is Dragon’s Blood?, a piece by Daniel Lewis on color dictionaries, with emphasis on the work of Robert Ridgway. A sample:
Color dictionaries were designed to give people around the world a common vocabulary to describe the colors of everything from rocks and flowers to stars, birds, and postage stamps. . . .How accurate the colors in the Internet Archive scan, I can’t say. But the colors are at least distinguishable. In the Google Books scan, Mikado Orange and Cadmium Orange are nearly identical.
These color dictionaries have a deep, personal and complicated history — even though they emerged from a strong desire to quantify the world, as taxonomic publications tried to do in the 19th and early 20th centuries. . . . We don’t use them anymore because in book form they would be impossibly unwieldy: There are now more named colors than you can shake a dragon at — far more than would fit into a single volume. But Ridgway’s legacy lives on — his book evolved into the Pantone color chart relied upon by graphic designers, house paint creators, interior designers, fashion mavens, flag makers, and anyone looking to identify colors.
A tenuously related post
Mug shot (Pantone Orange 021)