Color Problems by Emily Noyes Vanderpoel

Sacred Bones Books

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but in the case of Color Problems, it's beautiful both inside and out.

Emily Noyes Vanderpoel (1842-1939) was an artist, collector, scholar, and historian working at the dawn of the 20th century when she produced Color Problems: A Practical Manual for the Lay Student of Color. Vanderpoel’s principal motivation was to make color theory available to every person. She believed that homemakers and everyday people could also benefit from a better understanding of color. 

Within the text are a series of gridded squares, each 10 x 10, that analyze the proportions of color from actual objects: Assyrian tiles, Persian rugs, an Egyptian mummy case, and teacups. The result is a thoroughly studied yet uniquely poetic approach to color theory.

Sacred Bones teamed up with The Circadian Press to reproduce Noyes seminal text for the first time since 1903. It's sure to be a treasured addition to any person’s library.


  • Color Problems is printed on a selection of paper stocks.
  • The text portion is printed on a soft uncoated natural stock.
  • The 116 color plates are printed on a bright white coated paper.
  • The book includes sewn signatures for long-term durability and lay-flat binding for ease of viewing.
  • The cover is foil-stamped and includes a vibrant slipover belly-band.
  • Color Problems is 396 pages and measures 5.5” x 1” x 7.5”.
  • Published November 2018.

About Sacred Bones Books

Sacred Bones was born in Brooklyn, New York, with the intention of bringing great music to light as well as reissuing music lost to time. They partnered with The Circadian Press to faithfully resurrect the 1902 masterpiece Color Problems by artist and historian Emily Noyes Vanderpoel.

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