Payne’s Grey

Payne Grey

I’ve been thinking about this peculiar fellow today for some reason; perhaps because of the weather. The eponymous colour was always a favourite of mine back in the day when I was painting but I’d never bothered to find out more about the artist who “invented” the particular shade of grey that now bears his name. (Also, I didn’t have Google back then…)

Turns out that while William Payne was a highly prolific watercolourist, very little is actually known about his personal life. He first started exhibiting at the Society of Artists of Great Britain in 1776 from an address in Park Street, Grosvener Square, but for the next 15 years sent most of his pictures to the Royal Academy from an obscure dockyard in Plymouth. Later he returned to London, where he became the most fashionable drawing master of the day, last exhibiting in 1830, the year of his death.



Filed under Art

18 responses to “Payne’s Grey

  1. hemmingforddogblog

    I recently read a book where the expression “mackerel sky” was used. I have never heard this expression, but instantly knew the type of sky that the author was talking about — like the photo you have up.

  2. “mackered sky” — What a great expression.

    We frequently get those here… dull, tired and gloomy atmospheric backdrops that are sometimes relieved by fleeting glimmers of evanescent delight.

  3. lenny

    I’ve always understood “mackerel sky” to refer to cloud with a scaly appearance. For example.

  4. counter-coulter

    OT: Dear “birthers”, kindly shove it

  5. Helen

    “It is not very often that one gets to witness a “leadership frontrunner” immolate his own candidacy so blithely, so recklessly, but if you click here and you peer inside, you will see the corpse of Michael Ignatieff’s vaulting ambition. He is done – and if he isn’t, he should be.”

    The author …Warren Kinsella Liberal strategist.

  6. Ti-Guy

    The content of “Helen’s” comment has become a topic up all over the Conservative blogosphere, all at once. No reference to a source however.

    I hope it’s true. Kinsella will have redeemed himself with that.

    Still voting Liberal though. It’s not like the current Prime Minister didn’t support the War in Iraq (and most likely, torture) and he was in Parliament at the time.

  7. Payne’s Grey is up there for me in a troika with Naples Yellow and Hooker’s Green. Hooker’s Green always makes me think of Syd Charisse .

    Helen’s just mad about the Jaffur bust.

  8. In my haste, I misread SQ’s original quote, substituting “mackered” for “mackerel”…

    Mackered isn’t actually a word of course, but for some reason I’d suddenly imagined it being a combination of “knackered” and the familial fishy suborder Scombridae

  9. Jaffer , pardon me. Not Jaffur.

  10. In art school some of my teachers went to great lengths to show us how to make our own lovely greys and taupes from opposing colours on the wheel. Those greys are never as steely as Payne’s, or so I think.

  11. simpleposie — Hooker’s Green… another great shade. Prussian blue mixed with something… I can’t remember exactly what. Flemming Jorgensen was one of my teachers at art school and he worked in that moody palette of cool tones that I found very appealing.

  12. It’s gamboge – I had to look it up because I had no idea how to spell it – This is interesting from Wikipedia:

    “The word gamboge comes from gambogium, the Latin word for the pigment, which derives from Gambogia, the Latin word for Cambodia.”

  13. Anyway, thanks for the pic!

  14. No wonder I conveniently forgot the name of that tincture…

    The descriptive “relationships” (e.g., “Diarrhoea, with sudden and forcible ejection of bilious stools”) are at once revolting and hilarious.

  15. benalbanach

    Turner managed quite well without it.

  16. The painting is beautiful. Period stuff, especially that era has become very interesting to me. I’ve been doing my family genealogy (my husband got me a membership on for Xmas). This is the same era my g-grandfather was born in the US (N.Y. State). He came up to Canada in the 1860’s to join relatives from Vermont/Mass who were among the early settlers in Canada….on and on….

    So, anything depicting that era helps me connect with the times.

    Didn’t know you were an artist.

    I think some of your trolls should spend more time appreciating the beautiful things in life instead of being partisan and angry – they might feel better and it might help their attention deficit disorder.

    It’s such a nice change to delve into something else periodically instead of political anger.

  17. Art was my initial vocation until I got sideswiped by reality. 😉

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