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Colour: Travels through the Paintbox by…

Colour: Travels through the Paintbox (original 2002; edition 2009)

by Victoria Finlay

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1,474225,057 (3.92)88
Title:Colour: Travels through the Paintbox
Authors:Victoria Finlay
Info:The Folio Society
Tags:folio, art history, cultural history

Work details

Color by Victoria Finlay (2002)

  1. 20
    Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color by Philip Ball (EveleenM)
    EveleenM: The style of this book is dryer and more technical than that of Finlay's book, but I strongly recommend it for those who want more detailed background about the science of colour and pigments.
  2. 10
    The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece by Jonathan Harr (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: Both fall into the category of "art history that's accessible to readers that know next-to-nothing about art history."
  3. 10
    A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire by Amy Butler Greenfield (EveleenM)
    EveleenM: This is a similar book, dealing specifically with cochineal red rather than a range of colours.
  4. 10
    Black: The History of a Color by Michel Pastoureau (Tanglewood)
  5. 00
    The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting by Daniel V. Thompson (waltzmn)
    waltzmn: A much more technical work than Finlay's, and now sadly dated from a scientific standpoint, Thompson's book, despite being rather short, is an easy-to-read and amazingly useful compendium of most of the materials used to draw and decorate the treasures that are our ancient and medieval manuscripts.… (more)

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» See also 88 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
From the first evidence of art on Paleolithic cave walls using natural ochres to the complex processes of concocting dyes and pigments from insects, poisonous elements, rare minerals and mollusks, humans have been manipulating natural resources to create color. Author Victoria Finlay journeys the world over in search of the sources and stories of and processes used to create the traditional hues we have used in artistic expression and to brighten the world around us for millennia.

Fascinating and informative, this was a perfect -- though unintentional -- companion read to Bill Bryson's At Home. ( )
  ryner | Feb 22, 2016 |
This personal journey through the history of color is amazing!!! ( )
  rebeccar76 | Jun 24, 2015 |
I have to admit that I only got part way through the chapter on Ochre before I abandoned it. I love-love-love the idea, but couldn't mesh with the style of writing. ( )
  jlapac | Aug 14, 2013 |
In the past, I've read entire books on single colors, but putting so many colors together in a single volume allows them to really play off each other and build into a even more powerful history lesson. There is much information about the world within this book's covers and it made me appreciate the entire palette of colors in one book. It's all here: science, art, great artists, politics, history, health, and equally as powerful–business, business, business. ( )
1 vote jphamilton | Jul 1, 2013 |
Chatty, warm, and full of interesting facts insouciantly intrepid travelogue.... delightful. ( )
  maribou | May 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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For my parents, Jeannie and Patrick, who first showed me the place where light dances
First words
It was a sunny afternoon that still sparkled after earlier rain when I first entered Chartres cathedral.
I had thought, when I set out on my travels—when I first tumbled through that paintbos—that I would somehow find, in the original stories of colors, something pure.
There was once in China a secret color. It was so secret that it was said only royalty could own it.
(p. 245; chapter 7, "Green")
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
UK title: "Colour: Travels through the Paintbox;" US title: "Color: A Natural History of the Palette"
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812971426, Paperback)

Discover the tantalizing true stories behind your favorite colors.
For example: Cleopatra used saffron—a source of the color yellow—for seduction. Extracted from an Afghan mine, the blue “ultramarine” paint used by Michelangelo was so expensive he couldn’t afford to buy it himself. Since ancient times, carmine red—still found in lipsticks and Cherry Coke today—has come from the blood of insects.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:51 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Part travelogue, part narrative history, this work unlocks the history of the colours of the rainbow, and reveals how paints came to be invented, discovered, traded and used. This book looks at how green was carried by yaks along the silk road, and how an entire nation was founded on the colour purple.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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