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Colour (New Horizons)

Making and Using Dyes and Pigments

François Delamare, Bernard Guineau


From cerise to heliotrope, from puce to periwinkle, this delightful book is as rich and varied as a painter’s palette.


Colour is all around us; we take it for granted as a naturally occurring aspect of all things. Yet colours are also manufactured, and the science of pigments, hues and dyes has an ancient and fascinating history.

What were the colours of Ancient Egypt? What did its artists use to paint their magnificent frescoes? Where do indigo and ochre come from? Why is purple the colour of royalty? What are pastels? How many colours are there? Why do we dye our food? Who invented ink? What are white and black made of? What is the symbolism of yellow?

From the 40,000-years-old painted caves at Lascaux to the medieval cloth trade that enriched Europe, to the synthetic chemistry of today, the history of colour making has a central place in our lives. This book surveys the history of dyes and pigments, the invention of new colours and the industries that were fuelled by them.

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 18.0 x 12.5 cm

Extent: 160 pp

Illustrations: 150

Publication date: 27 November 2000

ISBN: 9780500301029

About the Author

Francois Delamare is a specialist in the surface properties of materials and was Director of Research at the Centre for the study of the structure of materials at the Ecole des Mines, Paris.

Bernard Guineau is an Academic specializing in the history of colour from antiquity to the present. He is also a pioneer in the application of physico-chemical methods to pigments and old dyes.