About these coordinates     Color coordinates
Hex triplet#704214
sRGBB (r, g, b)(112, 66, 20)
HSV (h, s, v)(30°, 82%, 44%)
CIELChuv (L, C, h)(33, 45, 38°)
SourceMaerz and Paul[1]
ISCC–NBS descriptorStrong brown
B: Normalized to [0–255] (byte)
Sepia ink used for writing, drawing and as a colored wash by Leonardo da Vinci

Sepia is a reddish-brown color, named after the rich brown pigment derived from the ink sac of the common cuttlefish Sepia.[2] The word sepia is the Latinized form of the Greek σηπία, sēpía, cuttlefish.[3]

In the visual arts

Sepia ink was commonly used for writing in Greco-Roman civilization. It remained in common use as an artist's drawing material until the 19th century.[2] Grisaille is a painting technique developed in the 14th century in which a painting is rendered solely in tones of gray, sepia, or dark green.[4] In the last quarter of the 18th century, Professor Jakob Seydelmann of Dresden developed a process to extract and produce a concentrated form of sepia for use in watercolors and oil paints.[5]

Sepia toning is a chemical process used in photography which changes the appearance of black-and-white prints to brown.[2][6] The color is now often associated with antique photographs. Most photo graphics software programs and many digital cameras include a sepia tone filter to mimic the appearance of sepia-toned prints.[2][7]

Other uses

In the 1940s in the United States, music intended for African American audiences was generally called race music or sepia music until the development of the expression rhythm and blues (R&B).[8][9][10] There was a magazine for African-Americans called Sepia, which existed from 1947 to 1983 (although the name Sepia was only applied after a change of ownership in 1953).[11]

Acclaimed Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky used a sepia tone in his 1979 science-fiction film Stalker to visually distinguish scenes set in the ordinary world from the world of the forbidden Zone, which is portrayed in color.[12]

See also


  1. ^ The color displayed in the color box above matches the colour called sepia in the 1930 book by Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Colour New York:1930 McGraw-Hill; the color sepia is displayed on page 39, Plate 8, Colour Sample A10.
  2. ^ a b c d St. Clair, Kassia (2016). The Secret Lives of Colour. London: John Murray. pp. 248–249. ISBN 978-1-4736-3081-9. OCLC 936144129.
  3. ^ Maerz and Paul A Dictionary of Colour New York:1930 McGraw Hill. Discussion of the colour Sepia, Page 179
  4. ^ Sitwell, Sacheverell (2011-09-28). The Netherlands: A Study of Some Aspects of Art, Costume and Social Life. A&C Black. ISBN 978-1-4482-0344-4.
  5. ^ Gettens, R. J.; Stout, G. L. (2012-09-26). Painting Materials: A Short Encyclopedia. Courier Corporation. ISBN 978-0-486-14242-5.
  6. ^ Präkel, David (2018-05-03). Photography FAQs: Black and White. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-350-09045-3.
  7. ^ Long, Ben (2011). Complete Digital Photography. Course Technology. ISBN 978-1-4354-5921-2.
  8. ^ Jaynes, Gerald David (2005). Encyclopedia of African American Society. SAGE. ISBN 978-0-7619-2764-8.
  9. ^ Gillett, Charlie (2011-05-01). The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll. Souvenir Press. ISBN 978-0-285-64024-5.
  10. ^ Kurlansky, Mark (2013-07-11). Ready For a Brand New Beat: How "Dancing in the Street" Became the Anthem for a Changing America. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-101-61626-0.
  11. ^ Mia Chandra Long, Seeking A Place In The Sun: Sepia Magazine's Endeavor For Quality Journalism and Place In The Negro Market, 1951–1982, PhD dissertation, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama, 2011, pp. 5, footnote 16
  12. ^ Green, Peter (1993-06-18). Andrei Tarkovsky: The Winding Quest. Springer. ISBN 978-1-349-11996-7.