The Secret Lives of Colour

The Secret Lives of ColourThe History Of Colors And The Vivid Stories Behind Them In A Multi Colored Volume The Secret Lives Of Color Tells The Unusual Stories Of Seventy Five 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 HistoryIn This Book, Kassia St Clair Has Turned Her Lifelong Obsession With Colors And Where They Come From Whether Van Gogh S Chrome Yellow Sunflowers Or Punk S Fluorescent Pink Into A Study Of Human Civilization Across Fashion And Politics, Art And War, The Secret Lives Of Color Tell The Vivid Story Of Our Culture Image from Videokarma.org Consider life in black and white Many creatures have dichromatic vision, two kinds of cone receptors , which allows limited color perception Monochromatics see only the gray scale from black to white Skates, rays The cinematic and TV worlds were both certainly B W for a long time, before color imposed itself on screens large and small And, while B W still holds a respected place in the visual arts, particularly in photography, film, and drawing, it is color tha Image from Videokarma.org Consider life in black and white Many creatures have dichromatic vision, two kinds of cone receptors , which allows limited color perception Monochromatics see only the gray scale from black to white Skates, rays The cinematic and TV worlds were both certainly BW for a long time, before color imposed itself on screens large and small And, while BW still holds a respected place in the visual arts, particularly in photography, film, and drawing, it is color that holds the broadest appeal, which should not be surprising Color has played a major role in the development of homo sapiens, giving ustools for making the best survival decisions If you are interested in how many colors we can see or the number of colors that exist, you re gonna need a bigger palette A computer displays under 17 million colors, of which we can see maybe 10 million, but a conservative estimate of how many colors there actually are puts it at 18 decillion Yeah, you want to know That s an 18 with 33 zeroes after it The top number is probably infinity, but it feels nice to have an actual number, however extreme, however arbitrary, to define the edges of what there is of anything in the universe Thankfully, Kassia St Clair trimmed a few off the top, bottom, and middle, settling in at seventy five Any of us could name many , but the odds are we would not be able to expound on each the way Ms St Clair can What I have tried to do is provide something between a potted history which would berelevant to a compendium of plant colors and a character sketch for the 75 shades maybe Dante could help that have intrigued me the most The project began with research on something else entirely, checking out 18th Century fashion intel at London s Victoria and Albert Museum, where she came across some mysterious adjective noun combinations for the colors of things in fashion, which sparkedresearch, becoming a column on color in British Elle Decoration magazine.Kassia St Clair From Psychology Today photo credit Colin ThomasHowever minimal seventy five may sound when compared to the theoretical number of available colors, St Clair has managed to put together a very broad spectrum, including basic colors Roy G Biv never heard of, like white, black, and brown.After an introductory section on the science and history of color and seeing, the book is divided into ten parts, white, yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, blue, green, brown and black, with short offerings on between five and ten different colors within each This makes ideal bedtime reading, as the pieces on any color are neverthan two or three pages, a natural length given that the project originated with a column on color so you can read as much or as little as you like without any concern about missing something, or delaying your shut eye with stress over what might happen to a beloved character.The content of the individual chapters varies Many report on the materials from which coloring agents are made, animal, vegetable, mineral, and weird concoctions Some focus instead on social significance, and in one case, military impact It is the range of perspectives that offers the greatest joy here It is one thing, and not a bad one, to learn where this or that color actually comes from in nature, tossing in some historical or character references, and that could have been pretty much the sum total of the book But no paint by numbers writing here St Clair s wide range of approaches keeps us from settling into a single sort of appreciation, like a hamster on a color wheel Adescriptive title might have been Interesting Facts about a Wide Range of Colors Nonetheless, The Secret Lives of Color, which is a wonderful world offers a cornucopia of fascinating bits of information, which makes this a very high fructose collection of brain candy The white cases of Apple computers are actually a shade of gray Silver was used for flatware in the belief that it could detect poisons The derivation of orange which came first, the color or the fruit A long forgotten name for New York City A bit of science on how fluorescents work Some words that we think of as colors began as something else A reason why the blue light from televisions affects us in certain ways And on and on and on, delightfully There are words in here that were quite unfamiliar in this context Isabelline is a color Really Orpiment Minium must be a small color , Madder an angry one Woad slow down Woad is a color Well, if you say so Best of all is Mummy Suffice it to say that this was the most disturbing chapter of the book, one that kept coming back into my thoughts unbidden Ironically, the pigment was a shade of brown that did not preserve itself all that well So, oddities, surprises, and lots of Gee, I never knew that Loooooove her Image from Billboard So, next time you think you re in the pink, you may then wonder which pink Is it Baker Miller pink, Mountbatten pink, puce, fuchsia, shocking, fluorescent, or maybe amaranth Or if you are feeling blue, which shade Ultramarine Cobalt Indigo, Prussian, Egyptian, woad, electric, or maybe cerulean And when you are in a black mood, well, you get the idea For the truly bleak there is Vantablack, a carbon nanotube technology created in Britain in 2014, traps 99.965 percent of the spectrum, making it the blackest thing in the world In person it is so dark it fools the eyes and brain, rendering people unable to perceive depth and texture NY times TV reviewers For any who enjoy learning new things, this book is the definition of a fun read, offering fascinating information in bite sized, tasty nuggets of multi colored brain candy for your synaptical munching pleasure It s to dye for Sorry Review posted August 31, 2018Publication date October 24, 2017 EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and FB pagesItems of Interest List of Animals That See in Black White How many colors are there in the world Interview Psychology Today It s a Colorful Life by Gary Drevitch 11 7 17Music The Wigmaker Sequence from the original stage production of Sweeney Todd on diverse shades of Johanna s blonde hair The Rollingstones She s a Rainbow Somewhere Over the Rainbow you know who, and wherefrom Colors of the Wind the original, sung by Judy Kuhn, from Pocahontas True Colors Cyndi original vid Colors One Republic Colours Donovan However de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum, in my experience colours, like the weather, can make an convenient topic to spark or rekindle conversation, having saved me a few times in socially awkward situations as wherever we are, colour is everywhere.Years ago I read Victoria Finlay s Color A Natural History of the Palette which, notwithstanding I learnt a lot from it on the origin of colours, entailed having to wade through numerous pages of rambling self absorbed travelogue and However de gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum, in my experience colours, like the weather, can make an convenient topic to spark or rekindle conversation, having saved me a few times in socially awkward situations as wherever we are, colour is everywhere.Years ago I read Victoria Finlay s Color A Natural History of the Palette which, notwithstanding I learnt a lot from it on the origin of colours, entailed having to wade through numerous pages of rambling self absorbed travelogue and left me hungry forsubstantial information on the world of colours So when I glanced through The Secret Lives of Colour in the local library and read in the introduction that Kassia St Clair attempts to provide something between a potted history and a character sketch for the 75 shades that have intrigued her most , I found myself mouth watering at some of the delightful names of the colours serving as the titles of the short chapters that structure her book despite the somewhat silly title More than a history of colours, this is a compendium of stories, anecdotes and trivia on the 75 hues, tints, tones and shades that St Clair selected, ranging from lead white to pitch black, culled from excursions into history, religion, economics, sociology the use of Baker Miller pink to assuage aggressiveness of prisoners , history of art, religion, politics Mountbatten pink, Dutch orange , biology, chemistry, literature Celadon With the same ease St Clair addressesfrivolous subjects like fashion and hair colours shocking pink, blonde , interior design and poisonous wallpaper beige, Scheele s green as well as she touches on the meaning of colours in various cultures and centuries, their permanence and provenance or discovery She delivers clarifications on the etymology of the names of colours and jots in interesting colour related linguistic musings The book grew out of the monthly columns on colour she wrote for Elle Decoration, and judging from the footnotes, her bite size entries rely heavily on two sources, Bright Earth Art and the Invention of Color by Philip Ball and Victoria Finlay s Color A Natural History of the Palette and on Michel Pastoureau s renowned books on colour There is also an extensive bibliography and list for further reading, and a descriptive list of other interesting shades on which no entry was written and which also speak to the imagination, like Eau de Nil, pompadour, beryl and coquelicot Bright red with a hint of orange, French for Papaver Rhoeas, the wild poppy Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato, The Virgin in Prayer 1640 1650 a tribute to ultramarine Quite some anecdotes I thought well chosen, fascinating, amusing or surprising, like the one on mummy or Egyptian brown and the moment Edward Burne Jones found out where that fine colour came fromThe Pre Raphaelite painter Edward Burne Jones hadn t twigged the connection between mummy brown and real mummies until one Sunday lunch in 1881, when a friend related having just seen one ground up at a colourman s warehouse Burne Jones was so horrified he rushed to his studio to find his tube of mummy brown, and insisted on our giving it a decent burial there and then. Or this one, on heliotrope, which from one of the few colours Victorian women were allowed to wear during half mourning, got a distinguished literary afterlife when the observance of mourning dress dictates wanedBadly behaved characters are often described as wearing the colour The deliciously immoral anti heroine of Oscar Wilde s An Ideal Husband, Mrs Cheveley, makes her entrance in heliotrope and diamonds, before swashbuckling her way through the remainder of the play and commandeering all the best lines Allusions to heliotrope also crop up in the works of J.K Rowling, D.H Lawrence, P.G Wodehouse, James Joyce and Joseph Conrad The word is pleasure to say, filling the mouth like a rich, buttery sauce Added to which, the colour itself is intriguing antiquated, unusual and just a little bit brassy The book doesn t contain illustrations which means the reader has to turn to the internet when paintings are discussed but the outer margin of each page is marked by a strip of the colour at stake in the chapter, so the reader instantly gets an impression of less common hues like isabelline, Napels yellow, verdigris, fallow, gamboge, or Payne s grey.Jan Van Eyck, Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife 1434 a dress in the costly verdigrisVividly written, accessible, brimful of informative and fun facts When two scientists discovered that the universe, taken as a whole, is a shade of beige, they immediately sought a sexier name Suggestions included big bang buff and skyvory , but in the end they settled on cosmic latte The secret lives of colour makes an enthralling be it somewhat dense read, however fragmented and in spurs repetitive on the details and cost of extracting and processing pigments for dyeing fabrics and for painting It is not a book I could gobble up at once and which I foundenjoyable to dip into in between other books, or to read a few pages in to close the day with a moment of beauty We take colour for granted these days where ever you look you have garish clothing and brightly painted items competing for attention But it was never like that, go back several hundred years ago, and lost people wore grey or brown cloth that had been dyed with the ochres and earth colours Those that had some colour in their lives were the rich they could afford the purples and reds that adorned their clothes and the rare blues and yellows that graced their artworks.In this fascinating book, We take colour for granted these days where ever you look you have garish clothing and brightly painted items competing for attention But it was never like that, go back several hundred years ago, and lost people wore grey or brown cloth that had been dyed with the ochres and earth colours Those that had some colour in their lives were the rich they could afford the purples and reds that adorned their clothes and the rare blues and yellows that graced their artworks.In this fascinating book, St Clair has uncovered the history behind 75 different colour shades and hues and tell their individual story We find out where in the world these colours originated from, who made them popular, just how expensive a vivid blue like ultramarine was and the chemistry behind turning ground rock into artist s paint and dyes for cloth Modern colours are fairly robust, but it is a reminder just how lethal some colours were The historical account of colour is enlightening too, as we find out which have come into fashion, why some prefer blondes, which colour was behind a notorious seduction and which have remained popular and those that currently don t fit the bill Not only is it a nicely written and fascinating book, but it is a beautifully produced book too each colour group is split into sections and the margins on each page are coloured to match the shade being written about As you read though each page changes subtly in colour and tone Just rippling through the pages you transcend from white to yellow to the reds, blues greens and end up at the black, it is a nice effect The dots on the front are embossed making touching the cover a tactile experience It was worth reading and would make a good companion volume to Bright Earth The Invention of Colour by Philip Ball and Colour A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay if you already have those I really enjoyed this book It s a series of short, and fascinating, stories of about 100 different colors I loved the random trivia and interesting facts I think anyone, even with an interest in color, would love this book A great gift idea I m someone who revels in the quiet stories and histories behind seemingly mundane objects or even words This book was so fascinating, and practically drenched in sensory poetry and historical tales. Loved this This is not a book about color theory but a compilation of snippets about 75 colors Each color has a very short account that ranges from explaining the original chemical mineral composition of the color to explaining the status the color signified throughout civilization For instance, the color blue s transformation from being the most undesirable color to the most popular Or, that chochineal required 70,000 dried bugs for a pound of color Interesting tidbits and the short sub chapters are p This is not a book about color theory but a compilation of snippets about 75 colors Each color has a very short account that ranges from explaining the original chemical mineral composition of the color to explaining the status the color signified throughout civilization For instance, the color blue s transformation from being the most undesirable color to the most popular Or, that chochineal required 70,000 dried bugs for a pound of color Interesting tidbits and the short sub chapters are perfect to slip in when you have a few minutes of down time Not overly compelling Ever wonder why Ferrari chose the color red What about why Van Gogh s sunflowers are slowly wilting as the years pass Are you curious why some colors are considered royal If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should give this book a go An interesting glimpse into the history and changing meaning of color over time The exact dialog about each color varied, with some focusing heavily on the historical recipe and how that was interesting, and others narrowing inon the social Ever wonder why Ferrari chose the color red What about why Van Gogh s sunflowers are slowly wilting as the years pass Are you curious why some colors are considered royal If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should give this book a go An interesting glimpse into the history and changing meaning of color over time The exact dialog about each color varied, with some focusing heavily on the historical recipe and how that was interesting, and others narrowing inon the social constraints, focusing on the meaning of the color to people of that timeBeetles are still being harvested today to produce the cochineal used by the cosmetics and food industries It is found in everything from MM s to sausages, red velvet cupcakes to Cherry Coke to soothe the squeamish it is usually hidden under the farinnocuous label E120Overall a good read with lots of fun period specifics Due to the nature of the content, and not being an artist and thereforeinterested in the science angle, certain portions were a little dry but the work as a whole was worth the short bouts of disinterest also described orange as red brought nearer to humanity by yellowThis would be an excellent companion to Toms River A Story of Science and Salvation, where we look at the aftermath of the color revolution here in the US Aspirin The Remarkable Story of a Wonder Drug would also be a great consecutive read for those interested in how the demand for synthetic dyes launched the profession of chemistry, and resulted in the pharmaceutical industry I would also recommend reading on a tablet capable of color, as there are examples of the colors throughout the book, which I felt added to the experience What a fascinating book If you ve ever wanted to knowabout colors and what they have meant throughout history, you ll find this to be an interesting read like I did It answers several questions that I didn t even know I had, such as why are doctors coats white Why was blue formerly associated with girls and pink associated with boys Why was blue a historically undervalued color in Western countries, even though today it s one of the most popular favorite colors in the world Why do What a fascinating book If you ve ever wanted to knowabout colors and what they have meant throughout history, you ll find this to be an interesting read like I did It answers several questions that I didn t even know I had, such as why are doctors coats white Why was blue formerly associated with girls and pink associated with boys Why was blue a historically undervalued color in Western countries, even though today it s one of the most popular favorite colors in the world Why do many Islamic countries have green in their flags And muchIt can get a bit heavy on history at times, but since each color entry is fairly short, it s not overwhelming I learned a lot from reading it and recommend it to art and history enthusiasts We chose this book for our January Amuse Book because it s an absolutely wonderful read about the history behind some of our favorite hue s It s a great conversation starter You won t believe some of these stories, we can t wait for all of our babes and beaus to read xo E K

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  • Hardcover
  • 320 pages
  • The Secret Lives of Colour
  • Kassia St. Clair
  • English
  • 22 June 2017
  • 1473630819