Part travelogue, part narrative history, 'Colour' unlocks the history of the colours of the rainbow, and reveals how paints came to be invented, discovered, traded and used. This remarkable and beautifully written book remembers a time when red paint was really the colour of blood, when orange was the poison pigment, blue as expensive as gold, and yellow made from the urine of cows force-fed with mangoes. It looks at how green was carried by yaks along the silk road, and how an entire nation was founded on the colour purple. Exciting, richly informative, and always surprising, 'Colour' lifts the lid on the historical palette and unearths an astonishing wealth of stories about the quest for colours, and our efforts to understand them.
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Comments about Colour:
I read this book years ago, and have just read it again recently. Have also given it as a gift to a few of my friends!
Although it's very history and information heavy, it's written in a really enganging story-like manner, which is so easy to get right into. The "stories" are fascinating and vibrant. I LOVE this book!
Comments about Colour:
Brilliant book on colour, I never thought it would be such a fascinating journey that the author took. Thoroughly enjoyed it and cant recommend it enough
Victoria Finlay became fascinated with colour after a childhood visit to Chartres cathedral, when she was mesmerised not by the architecture but by the blues and reds of the stained glass windows dancing on the stone floors. It was a fascination that was to lay dormant for many years until, as a newspaper arts editor, she happened upon a book about colour which made her realize that while art history is usually about those producing the art, there is much to be learned about the raw materials: the paints and the dyes. Her search for a book which would satisfy her thirst for knowledge was fruitless and so she decided to write one herself. She set out on a voyage of discovery which would take her from the graphite mines of the Lakeland fells to the ultramarine mines of Afghanistan, from caves in the Dordogne with their ancient charcoal paintings to the saffron fields of Iran. Whilst the book documents in fascinating and well-researched detail the origins and production methods of numerous pigments, with intriguing facts about everything from cochineal beetles to the lethal arsenic present in green wallpaper which may have been responsible for the death of Napoleon, the book does much more besides. As Finlay immerses herself in the different cultures of the world, she dips into folk legend, anthropology and politics as she writes of the aboriginal people of Australia and the change, or lack thereof, in Afghanistan since September 11 2001. Finlay writes with an obvious enthusiasm for her subject and although a little restraint might have made for a shorter and more manageable book, the reader cannot fail to be impressed by the scope of her enterprise. (Kirkus UK)
Number Of Pages: 512
Published: 8th May 2003
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 3.4
Weight (kg): 0.37