Cassel brown

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A naturally occurring dark brown earth named for a city in central Germany. Cassel earth, also known as Vandyke brown and Cologne earth, contains organic humus or coal material mixed with iron oxides, alumina, and silica. When ignited, the pigment leaves a soft gray residue. The colorant is fugitive and fades on exposure to strong light.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Cassel earth; Natural Brown 8; CI 77727; pardo Van Dyke (Esp.); brun de Cassel (Fr.); marrone di Cassel (It.); Cassel's earth; Kassel earth; Cologne earth; Vandyke brown; Castle earth; Castile earth; Cullens earth; Colens earth; Collens earth

Other Properties

Slightly soluble in oil. Discolors in alkalis turning grayish.

Additional Information

Georgiana Languri, Molecular studies of Asphalt, Mummy and Kassel earth pigments, MOLART report 2004, available through Archetype Publications, London.

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Helmut Schweppe, Schweppe color collection index and information book
  • M. Doerner, The Materials of the Artist, Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1934
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 558
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Colour Index International online at