Research report on Prankemon Green

So excited to finally share this. In the making since I started my position as a Research Associate at Research Center for Material Culture (RCE) in 2019. To research and re-tell the story on batik entrepreneur Carolina Josephina von Franquemont, it was important to use all tools available to look into the myth & the legend, especially that of ‘Prankemon green’.

With the help and expertise of Art Proaño Gaibor of Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed the green (and other dye colours) found in batiks attributed to Von Franquemont could be put under a microscope. Pretty much exactly that we did. With just 2 mm of a thread many different things can be research; what dyes were used, synthetic or natural ingredients, what natural ingredients aka plants were used, traces of wax or oils can be found, metals & carbon traces.Which was also done by photographing the batiks in different light filters. 

The process was long. It took me about 6 months to get approval to actually do the research, then more months passed before the actually samples were taken and then more months of processing the data before the report was done. But now it is officially here: Carolina Josephina von Franquemont (1817-1867) Prankemon green : research into the chemical composition of organic dyes in 19th century sarongs.

Via the link in bio; https://catalogus.cultureelerfgoed.nl/Details/reports/900004075 you can read a summery of the report & results.

“The recipe for this green color was allegedly a secret that was lost after Von Franquemont’s death. The conducted research is to determine what Prankemon green is made of and to attribute the colour to the workshop or debunk dyestuff myths surrounding its creation. 
Studies of five cotton batik sarongs (collection: NMvW Leiden and World Museum Rotterdam) show that all the colors were made from natural dyes, most likely locally sourced {…} On the basis of the results there are strong indications that the investigated batiks were all made in different dyeing workshops.”

Via bibliotheek@cultureelerfgoed.nl you can request the report D2021-082 digitally. It is not yet accessible online, but hopefully it will be soon. The report is in English.