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"Lincoln Green and Hodden Grey: Best Paints?" Topic

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Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2014 6:06 a.m. PST

There are two historical colors that are not (as far as I know) represented by specifically designated paints in any range I am aware of. What do YOU use to paint Lincoln Green, that well-known English shade, or Hodden Grey (the peculiar purplish-grey worn by the London Scottish battalion since the 1800s as well as a traditional Scots dye)?

Hodden Grey is a hard to identify color, and Lincoln Green seems to have multiple interpretations. What do you favor?

Pictures or examples would be welcome!

daubere11 Jun 2014 6:57 a.m. PST

Hodden isn't a dye. It is the colour of a mixture undyed wool of black and white highland sheep. As such, I suspect that the original shades may have varied to a greater or lesser extent.



corporalpat11 Jun 2014 7:00 a.m. PST

I mix most colors like those individually. That way you get nicely varied shades of color. Far more accurate than anything straight out of the bottle.

Ferbs Fighting Forces11 Jun 2014 7:17 a.m. PST

Lincoln green was made by dyeing the cloth blue first with Woad and then overdyed with ‘weld', (also known as Dyers' weed, or Yellow Rocket) to give a green colour.

Since woad produces blue, when a blue cloth was overdyed with weld (producing yellow), one might get any possible shade of green, depending on how deeply blue the original blue cloth was and how much yellow it was dipped in. But the shade of green must have varied, in the Middle Ages recipes from various guilds were kept highly secret, but one of the common ingredients was urine. Guildsmen and apprentices would urinate in a special pot that would be kept within the dyehouse and used for their dye recipes. Since diet influences the content of urine, perhaps the greens of one guild or one locale might be fairly "stable"??? But no one addresses this so far as I know.

Fizzypickles11 Jun 2014 7:27 a.m. PST

Yup, I mix a lot of colours too. Must start writing them down.

Lincoln Green, in Vallejo probably a mix of Deep and Flat Green.

Hodden essentially is one of the 'Khaki' colours. Probably a very pink light flesh plus some black. Or out of the Vallejo pot a Khaki Grey/Green Brown mix.

SJDonovan11 Jun 2014 9:00 a.m. PST

There is a nice guide to Colour in Elizabethan Dress here: link It describes Lincoln Green as Bright Green. It also gives descriptions of less well-known colours like Goose Turd and Dead Spaniard.

Timmo uk11 Jun 2014 9:20 a.m. PST

Goose Bleeped text – did that become Gosling Green, the facing colour of at least one Napoleonic British regiment.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2014 9:49 a.m. PST

Medieval Lincoln green would seem to be a bright light green, leaf or spring green as it might be called today, perhaps with some olive overtones, a definite yellow influence. That seems to be the best consensus I can find. In costume dramas and movies it used to be depicted as a garish Kelly Green shade, or at least once, a sort of dark bluish green, but modern films have used a more somber dull light green/light olive tone, which may be appropriate for something associated with woodsmen and Robin Hood. Also alluded to as a color of new spring growth.

Lincoln Green as worn by 19th century English regiments was what shade exactly?

daubere11 Jun 2014 9:58 a.m. PST

Lincoln Green as worn by 19th century English regiments was what shade exactly?

Which 19th century English (actually British) regiments wore Lincoln green?

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2014 10:03 a.m. PST

Hodden grey is an odd one. It has a strange brownish element to it, and almost a lavender tinge in some representations. You'd think you'd just get a flat grey with a black and white mixture, but it must be a lot more subtle than that. It reacts to light (and perhaps aging) in different ways. I see a lot of variant to this shade in photographs and paintings.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2014 10:18 a.m. PST

Lincoln Green as worn by 19th century English regiments was what shade exactly?

Which 19th century English (actually British) regiments wore Lincoln green?

My sources are sometimes inconsistent or contradictory, but this is a list of all the infantry regiments that are assigned "Lincoln green" facings at some point, in at least one reference:
Pre-1881: 11th Foot (and for the Devonshire Reg't after 1905); 45th Foot; 49th Foot; 55th Foot; 63rd Foot; 69th Foot; 94th Foot

Post-1881: 1st Sherwood Foresters(Derbyshire Reg't), in 1939(? or 1913?); 2nd Sherwood Foresters in 1913

Mainly English, but I should have said "British" since the Connaught Rangers are included in the above, and a nominally Welsh regiment. And it seems to me that I read somewhere that the regiments in question used to argue about who wore the most "correct" Lincoln green, too (no surprise there). Maybe we should hold a seance and ask Abe Lincoln to make a ruling!

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2014 10:39 a.m. PST

That Elizabethan link is a hoot!

I want a Rifle unit in Sad New Color with Puke facings.

And Hussars in Ape's Laugh coats with Dying Monkey trousers.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Jun 2014 12:16 p.m. PST

The problem with using a contemporary reference is that 'bright' in Elizabethan times may not be what we, in the age of synthetic dyes, would consider 'bright'.

Lincoln green is described in various sources as a result of two dyeing steps – a blue (usually indigo in some form) and a yellow. You might get a good, solid colour if dye concentrations were high and dyeing done well but I very much doubt that you'd get what we today would call a 'bright' green.

Whether it would lean toward yellow or blue would depend on the dye strength of that component so a lot of variation could be expected.

Relying on Hollywood or the theatre for accurate colours is about as safe as relying on them for historical facts.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2014 5:49 p.m. PST

Agreed, in general. Mentioned those as examples of visual reference. But I wouldn't wholly disparage movie costume designers -- they often do a far better job than given credit for, or try to. The conscientious ones do their research and often insist on a greater level of accuracy (and expense) than producers are happy with.

Fizzypickles11 Jun 2014 6:50 p.m. PST

Lol..I'm going to have to construe conversations where I can use 'Goose Turd' and 'Dead Spaniard' in succession thumbs up

Bellbottom12 Jun 2014 2:24 a.m. PST

For those in the UK who watch 'QI', according to Stephen Fry, Lincoln Green is a mispronunciation of Lincoln Grain, apparently a red dye!. Sounds improbable, but they are known for doing their homework.

Fizzypickles12 Jun 2014 2:29 a.m. PST

There is no definitive colour called Lincoln Green to my knowledge yet, most us have a picture in our mind of what we think it should be.

Joppyuk12 Jun 2014 8:46 a.m. PST

While not described as Lincoln Green, The Museum of Lincolnshire Life has a Lincs. Yeomanry dress uniform (Lancer style, in Green with white facings) which is a very dark bottle green.

tkdguy12 Jun 2014 6:37 p.m. PST

New uniforms for all my troops! evil grin

oldbob13 Jun 2014 8:13 a.m. PST

This is an educational thread for me. I thought that I had Hodden Grey down, but after reading these responses I need to find a suitable color! thanks

Supercilius Maximus13 Jun 2014 3:37 p.m. PST

Since diet influences the content of urine, perhaps the greens of one guild or one locale might be fairly "stable"???

I imagine a meal of asparagus must have played havoc with the recipe!

Presumably other factors altered the urine, too – given some of the names on that list, I'm surprised the Elizabethans never came up with Gonorrhea Green.

Goose Bleeped text – did that become Gosling Green, the facing colour of at least one Napoleonic British regiment.

It did – the 5th Foot, eventually the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. In 1811, the then Colonel decided the colour was so hideous that he put the drummers and musicians into white coats, rather than the usual reversed colours.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP14 Jun 2014 11:05 p.m. PST

I have read about "Lincoln Grain" being claimed to be a form of red cloth, not green at all, but I have to wonder how a red color would come to be associated with Robin Hood and his Sherwood outlaws? Even the old songs and legends refer to the Lincoln green clothing, and presumably as camouflage, yes? Red clothes don't make no sense! And besides, where would this leave Will Scarlet and his distinctive clothes?

There is a painting of the Connaught Rangers with their "Lincoln Green" facings here: link

Interestingly, I was watching the movie "Restoration" recently and a fop character played by Hugh Grant refers to his "Lincoln green" garments, which seem to be a pale olive altho' they are not clearly seen and hidden by much embellishment and lace. Still, a clue of sorts.

The modern county of Lincoln has a flag with a distinct green element, presumably meant to be Lincoln green. Lincolnshire gamers, I know you're out there -- stand up and tell your brother gamers what's what! Help us!

Supercilius Maximus16 Jun 2014 6:22 a.m. PST

Scarlet was originally a measure of the quality of the cloth – usually the best – and not a specific colour; only in Tudor times (possibly later) did it become associated with red. It is possible this is the origin of the myth that red could only be worn by royalty and their retainers. Thus, the Yeomen of the Guard could have been wearing "scarlet" whilst still in their white and green outfits during the reign of Henry VII.

Similarly, "russett" was not originally a colour, but the cheaper quality of cloth (undyed brown/grey wool) worn by country folk.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2014 1:56 p.m. PST

More news on the Hodden grey kilts of the London Scottish, courtesy of the BBC:


and video clip here:


Hodden grey, at least as worn by the London Scottish, has this peculiar brownish-violet tone to it, which is very odd for something said to be made only from a black and white wool blend.

Aubrey10 Aug 2014 11:10 a.m. PST

Hi Piper909,

I'm originally from Lincoln (and proud of it). My understanding has always been that Lincoln Green is a type of cloth (that happens to be a 'darkish' green) famously made in the City rather than a definitive green shade.

I found an interesting article on-line that backs this up. It also refers to Lincoln Scarlet – made from graine – as the most expensive and Lincoln Gray as the cheapest.

Here is the extract :-

"Lincoln scarlet was the most expensive (scarlet signifying the cloth originally, not the colour). In 1198 the Sheriff of Lincoln bought ninety ells (about 112 yards) of scarlet cloth for L30 although the cloth was a finely finished high quality fabric it seems almost certain that its high price was due mainly to the extremely costly dye-stuff 'greyne' (graine) from Kermes or scarlet grain, a small insect resembling that which provides the dye cochineal.

In 1182 the Sheriff of Lincoln bought:
Scarlet at 6s 8d/ell
Green (or fine cloth) at 3s/ell
Blanchet also at 3s/ell
Gray at approximately 1s 8d/ell
(an ell is about equal to a yard.)

(This information is derived from the archives of the Pipe Roll Society.)

Lincoln green was therefore the middle grade or quality of cloth produced. It was first dyed blue with woad and then overdyed yellow with either weld or dyers' greenweed"

(Article from LINCOLN GREEN by Sandra Sardeson (Reprinted without permission from The Journal for Weavers, Spinners,
and Dyers, Vol. 158, April 1991.))

Extract from link

I was surprised to see mention of 19th Century British Regiments having 'Lincoln Green' facings. Not really my period but none of the handful of Napoleonic Uniform Books I have refer to Lincoln Green instead they talk about Dark Green.

The other interesting thing is that the 10th Foot is missing from the list quoted. They have Yellow facings and are the Lincolnshire Regiment. Although there was a 69th Lincolnshire Regiment with Green Facings (which your list contains) this was the South Lincs (the 10th becoming the North Lincolnshire)who in any case recruited mainly from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lancashire.

Hope this is of some help.

(A yellow belly – and proud of it)

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP12 Aug 2014 3:26 p.m. PST

Thanks for the info! Interesting stuff. Older terms for weaves of cloth getting confused with color tones make my head hurt. Lincoln Green was made of "graine" but was dyed blue and yellow so to produce a green color; Lincoln Scarlet was a higher-grade cloth but was also dyed with kermes/cochineal which does produce a bright red color. So the terms are different… but also the same. Urgh, Aspirin, please!

My list was assembled hurriedly and I hope I didn't overlook anything or present the list confusingly. The frequent renamings and reorganizations of the British regiments only makes things worse. The 10th Foot, the North Lincoln (or North Lincolnshire, in some sources, at some times) Regiment, did not wear green facings, surprisingly, but yellow, and then white after 1881 as the Lincolnshire Regiment (Royal Lincolnshire regiment in 1946 and blue facings, with further amalgamations to follow in the 1960s). I often see different designations of facing colors in different lists -- terms like Dark, Light, Deep, Full, Pale, Bright, et al. get appended to the simple yellows and greens, so few lists agree in every particular. Most of what I regurgitated above comes from the first three sources I grabbed from my shelves: British Infantry Colors, Appendix 3 (Dino Lemonofides, 1971); Uniforms of the British Army: The Infantry Regiments (ed. W.Y. Carman, 1985; and British Infantry Uniforms Since 1660, Appendices 1, 3 (Michael Barthop, 1982). Great books all! Lincoln Green is specified in at least one of these sources for all the units I noted above at one time or another, so that's my starting point.

Aubrey13 Aug 2014 2:25 a.m. PST

Yes it is interesting and confusing all at the same time. If it makes you feel any better I asked my Dad what he thought Lincoln Green was and he said Scarlet – lol.

Anyway, I have a definitive answer for you. Well definitive as far as I'm concerned !

I followed up the references to Lincoln Green in early 19th Century Regiments concentrating on one in your list the 45th (the Nottinghamshire Regiment). And they and the subsequent 'Sherwood Foresters' you refer to Post 1881 provide the answer you are looking for.

The clue of course is in the names – Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire was of course where Robin Hood and his outlaws clothed in Lincoln Green hung out.

So if you want to know what colour Lincoln Green is all you have to do is to decide what period you are interested in – from Medieval times to now. The Medieval side has already been discussed. If its the later period find the facing colour associated with the 45th / Sherwood Foresters as appropriate.

For example, my 2 uniform books on the Peninsular war both have a plate with the 45th in both cases the facing colour is the same darkish (bottle) green. But one book calls it dark green and the other deep green.

As I said you can go right up to now with The Mercian Regiment in the British Army. They wear a "Lincoln Green Patch. The Lincoln Green patch behind the cap badge is worn on the beret. It may also be worn on slouch hats, bush hats or on the side of helmets at CO's discretion. The tradition originates from the First World War when several Sherwood Forester battalions served in the same brigade. In total some 16 Forester battalions wore a Lincoln Green patch of various shapes to distinguish between battalions. This was later standardised as a square patch behind the cap badge. The tradition has been carried forward into the Mercian Regiment with a 60x50mm patch on the beret which is
Mandatory for all ranks. The patch is also reflected on the Regimental flags and sign boards".

The link below gives the source of this quote and includes a photo of the patch which is the modern British Armies interpretation of the colour Lincoln Green:-

PDF link

My guess is that the 45th adopted dark green facings to represent Lincoln Green and that the other units you list pre-1881 happen to have the same colour facings and the name has been used for convenience.

So there you go mystery solved. I'm happy now because as you may have gathered as a proud yellow-belly this has really been bugging me.


Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP13 Aug 2014 9:00 p.m. PST

Hello again! Great stuff! Heh, "Duck Green" -- I'm glad I don't have to be troubled by *that* one yet.

The modern Lincoln Green as shown here is a deep, dark green with a hint of blue in it, to my eye. It closely resembles what might be called "Hunter Green" or "Archer Green" or even "Piper Green" in the Scottish regiments and other units. Associated now with the Highland regiments (or former Highland regiments, I should say, thanks to recent amalgamations) and pipers and drummers in same.

So, a variable, truly "fugitive" color which, as you note, seems to have changed in meaning over the centuries, from its medieval origins to the beginnings of the British regimental system to the 19th century's fondness for neo-medievalism to the modern era. Modified by Hollywood, romance, legend, expediency, and semantics!

Andy P07 Oct 2014 4:52 a.m. PST

Hodden grey Vallejo's SS camo brown violet possibly??

Supercilius Maximus20 Oct 2014 7:23 a.m. PST

Re. the 10th Foot having yellow facings, apparently "yellow belly" was a name for the natives of Lincolnshire.


latto6plus213 May 2015 4:26 a.m. PST

GWs Charadon (or whatever) Granite makes a decent hodden grey

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