Cyprus Green?

A short article in the March GB Journal, which included a reprint of an earlier article suggesting that it was so named because of inks being imported from Cyprus in 1915, caught my eye, as for some time I have been researching the story behind wartime printing inks produced by British Dyes for the 1/2d and 1d stamps. When the original article was written in 1957, most writers did not quote sources, so there is no way of ascertaining where the information came from, and which I think is undoubtedly wrong.

Green inks were never a serious problem during WW1 and Harrison's colour- makers J W & T A Smith Ltd were able to source sufficient material to enable printing to continue. There is also the problem that the British Philatelist of October 1914 announced the finding of the Cyprus Green stamp, on 9 September 1914 by their 'Norwood contemporary' - some months before the material to produce it was imported from Cyprus!

Red was the major problem and at this time (1915) Smith's were importing red materials from Switzerland. Green would no doubt have been available from Switzerland had it been needed.

Cyprus Green has always been a 'problem' as to why it was so named. In the GB Journal of September 2000 Douglas Muir wondered whether it should really be Cypress Green having found a series of colour essays produced in June 1913, one of which was inscribed 'Cypress Green'. Inputting both Cyprus Green and Cypress Green into Google produced a mass of information, most of which had nothing to do with the colours, and that which did was not particularly useful, but did you know there was a Colour Museum in this County? It is in Bradford and information about it can be found on I have found them extremely helpful in the past and a request for information brought the following detail:

'According to a Colour Index produced for the Society of Dyers and Colourists in 1924 a Cyprus Green B was listed as being produced by Aktiengesellschaft Für Anilin-Fabrikation, Berlin and was described as a blueish-grey azo acid dye, converted into green by after-treatment with copper sulphate.'

So it does exist as a colour, although it does not appear to have any connection with Cyprus.