E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
The ancient colour appropriated to clerks and persons of inferior condition. It was also the colour worn by the Jews. Hence Lord Bacon says, Usurers should have orange-tawny bonnets, because they do Judaise (Essay xli.). Bottom the weaver asked Quince what coloured beard he was to wear for the character of Pyramus: I will discharge it in either your straw-coloured beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-ingrain beard, or your French crown-colour, which is a perfect yellow. (Midsummer Nights Dream, i. 2.)