In the Middle Ages and the premodern period knowledge of alchemical practices and materials was transmitted via collections of recipes often grouped concomitantly with art-technological instructions. In both alchemy and chemical technology particular importance is placed on artisanal and craft practices. Both are concerned with the description of colours. Both require procedures involving precise and specifically defined actions, prescriptions and ingredients. Assuming that alchemical and artistic texts have the same textual format, this raises the question: were they produced, diffused and read by the same people? This paper investigates the authorship and the context of production behind a sample of German alchemical manuscripts dating from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century. It scrutinizes their process of production, compilation and dissemination. This paper also sheds light on the various types of marginalia, and correlates them with their diverse functions. It thus delivers significant information about the readers and users of these manuscripts.