The main subject of this talk is a late 17th Century Dutch manuscript containing 1723 colour-samples in different hues, explanatory notes on their composition, and a register with another 352 samples. Until recently, this watercolour formula guide led an – almost – hidden existence in the city library of Aix en Provence. Carefully written, illustrated and bound in blindstamped vellum, this small but substantial volume looks as if it was meant for broader use and publication. It might be the earliest extensive as well as systematic colour overview and can be compared to our modern colour samplers or pantones. As a precursor, the manuscript is an important source for art technology, art history and social history. The talk will focus on the way in which the colours have been arranged as well as the author’s background and his motivation for writing the manuscript.