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The Secret Lives of Colour - Kassia St Clair

The Secret Lives of Colour

Paperback Published: 11th September 2018
ISBN: 9781473630833
Number Of Pages: 288

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The unforgettable history of colours and the vivid stories behind them in a beautiful multi-coloured volume.

THE SECRET LIVES OF COLOUR tells the unusual stories of the 75 most fascinating shades, dyes and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso's blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green, and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history. In this book Kassia St Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colours and where they come from (whether Van Gogh's chrome yellow sunflowers or punk's fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilisation. Across fashion and politics, art and war, The Secret Lives of Colour tell the vivid story of our culture.

About the Author

Kassia St Clair studied the history of women's dress and the masquerade during the eighteenth-century at Bristol and Oxford. She has since written about design and culture for the Economist, House & Garden, Quartz and 1843, and has had a column about colour in Elle Decoration since 2013. She lives in London.

Industry Reviews

A mind-expanding tour of the world without leaving your paintbox. Every colour has a story, and here are some of the most alluring, alarming, and thought-provoking. Very hard painting the hallway magnolia after this inspiring primer



From pink boys' clothes to blue warpaint; why orange spells danger and other colourful tales - DAILY TELEGRAPH

Inspiring, compelling and beautifully designed . . . this will appeal to anyone - LADY

Well-researched and engaging - House & Garden

Easy to read, engaging, and interesting


I've recently gotten into microhistories, and came across this one in a list of Best Microhistories. I purchased it on a whim, and happily, it did not disappoint. The book started life as a series of magazine columns, and the style - easy to read, presenting interesting information in neat, engaging bite-sized pieces - has been carried over to the book nicely. St Clair provides one or two interesting things about each colour, for some it might be how the dye/pigment is produced, for some a historical figure or time period or artist it's particularly associated with, etc, with most entries ranging from one and a half to three or four pages long. It's very much the kind of book you dip into, as the mood takes. Lastly, I love that in the paperback, the colour under discussion is printed in a strip down the side of the page, so that a) you get a visual of the colour, and b) the book looks beautiful.




5.0 1


ISBN: 9781473630833
ISBN-10: 1473630835
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 11th September 2018
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 12.9  x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.54
Edition Number: 1
Edition Type: Illustrated

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