Está livremente disponível online uma pequena obra de William Henry Perkin, que em 1856 preparou o primeiro corante artificial, precisamente sobre os corantes sintéticos:
William Henry Perkin, On the aniline or coal-tar colours, London, W. Trounce, 1869.
A obra está disponível aqui.
In this short course of lectures it is my desire to bring before you a somewhat condensed history of the artificial colouring matters, generally known as the "Coal Tar Colours." By this designation it is not meant to imply that colouring matters actually exist in coal tar, and may, therefore, be extracted from it, but that coal tar is the source of certain products which, when changed by various chemical processes, are capable of yielding coloured derivatives. You will thus perceive that it is important for us to consider the various means employed to obtain the raw materials before giving our attention to the colouring matters themselves. We will, therefore, at once proceed to the consideration of "coal tar;" its formation and constitution.