Madder is the tincture made from the root of a plant. In ancient times madder growing and color making was a large industry in Egypt and was the best of the natural dyes
for dying textiles. It did not become a major artists pigment until the beginning of the 19th century. It’s soft beautiful rose and brown colors became popular additions to the landscape palette. It was believed by many to be permanent although this appears to have been wishful thinking. In some lightfastness tests madder is used as the standard marker for the bottom of the scale.
The synthetic Alizarin is chemically similar to madder but was believed to be superior. Independent testing does not usually back up this claim and both colors should be avoided, with the Quinacridone and Pyrrole pigments taking their place.