Robin Hood and de Boys

The world is so full of a number of things, and so many of them are inadvertently lost to us through disuse. Consider, for example, de Boys, murrey, ginger lyne, gridolin, and philly mort.

What are they? Colours.

Sherwood Forest IMG 7259 - panoramio

De Boys is from the French du bois, meaning ‘of the wood’, so presumably some sort of brown – or possibly green, if we’re talking about the kind of wood which is made of trees, rather than the kind of wood which trees are made of.

Murrey is a sort of purplish mulberry colour.
Ginger lyne is… probably something gingery.
Gridolin is from the French gris de lin, meaning linen-flower, so a sort of lavender blue.
And philly mort (from the French feuille morte, meaning ‘dead leaf’) is a dark grey-brown.

And then there’s Lincoln green, a bold forest green for bold forest dwellers such as Robin Hood, although some claim he wore Lincoln graine, which is a kind of scarlet made from scale insects, and much more expensive to boot – not to mention considerably less practical from a camouflage standpoint.

Robin Hood Memorial
This Robin’s wearing verdigris!

Other colours seldom heard of include deer colour (presumably the colour of some sort of deer), French green (sagey grey-green), russet (reddish brown), puce (the colour of a flea – a slightly purply brown), and folding colour (a complete mystery).

If you were an outlaw hunting the king’s deer (of any colour) in the brown or possibly green forest, what colour would you wear?

4 Replies to “Robin Hood and de Boys”

    1. Very clever! Somewhere in between the two should serve you well for concealment, should you ever have a complete change of character (and era) and go in for poaching deer.

  1. I’d be wearing French green, with the jacket concealing a nice undershirt of ginger lyne. or russet. I wouldn’t mind living living in the forest, as long as there was the level of accommodation found in Lothlorien.

    1. Very natty! I don’t recall the sanitary plumbing of Lothlorien ever being mentioned, although no doubt they had a solution which avoided any unpleasantness while nourishing the earth beneath.

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