Erik Kwakkel is a Medieval book historian. Now there is a cool job! The other day he posted a rather zippy discovery (though he is quick to point out that he didn't "discover" it in the "No one ever opened this book before" sense but more in the "Take a look at this sense") and we are so glad he did.
In 1692 a Dutch author identified as "A.Boogert" produced a nearly 800 page book about color. He describes how to make watercolor paints and how make gradation in the colors. Most people describe it as a 17th century Pantone Color Guide. The first Pantone was published in 1963, so there was a bit of a lag.
Entitled, Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau, it resides at the Bibliothèque Méjanes in Aix-en-Provence, France. In a wonderful example of the power of digitization, anyone can see this book here.
You can follow Erik Kwakkel and find out more cool stuff about Medieval books.