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The Anatomy of Colour

The Story of Heritage Paints and Pigments

Patrick Baty


The definitive book on the use of paint and colour in interior decoration from the 1660s to the 1960s

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The definitive book on the use of colour and paint in interior decoration over a three-hundred year period, The Anatomy of Colour is certain to appeal to both amateur and professional restorers, renovators, enthusiastic decorators and all those with an interest in interior decoration and design.

Drawing on his huge specialist archive, Patrick Baty traces the evolution of pigments and paint colours together with colour systems and standards, and examines their impact on the colour palettes used in interiors from the 1660s to the 1960s. He first charts the creation in paint of the common and expensive colours made from traditional earth pigments between 1650 to 1799. Next he examines the emergence of colour systems and standards and their influence on paint colours together with the effect of industrialized production on the texture and durability of paints. Finally, Baty turns his attention to 20th-century colour standards, including those developed originally for the purpose of identifying flowers, such as the Répertoire de Couleurs des Fleurs, des Feuillages et des Fruits, each incarnation of the British Colour Standard cards, Walpamur paint swatch cards and Parson’s Tint Book of Historical Colours.

Throughout the book reproductions of interiors highlighting the distinctive colour trends and styles of painting particular to each period and room accompany the in-depth analysis of the history of colour and the development and use of paint colours in interior design.

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'Patrick Baty is the most influential of our paint experts, whose breadth and depth of knowledge is unrivalled'
Homes & Gardens

Daily Telegraph

'The work of a lifetime … a sumptuous 350-page encyclopaedia'

'This intricately researched, sumptuously colourful book is not just pretty, it is a bible of paints and paintwork through the ages – a must for any vibrantly inclined homeowner today'
House & Garden

'An insightful, passionate, technicolour history lesson'
The English Home

Evening Standard

'A beautifully illustrated compendium'
City AM

This England

'Absorbing and detailed … will change the way you see the world'
RIBA Journal

'A wealth of colour lore'
World of Interiors

'Inspirational … lavishly illustrated with stunning photographs'
History Today

'A mighty volume'
Country Life

Kensington, Chelsea & Westminster Today

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Quarterbound/PLC (no jacket)

Size: 26.4 x 20.6 cm

Extent: 352 pp

Illustrations: 600

Publication date: 29 June 2017

ISBN: 9780500519332

Contents List

Avant Propos by Josef & Anni Albers • An Introduction to Historical Colour • PART I. Interiors & The Use of Colour 1650–1799: i) The House Painter & the Colourman; ii) Traditional Pigments; iii) Traditional Paints; iv) Traditional Brushes • PART II. Interiors & The Use of Colour 1800–1899: i) Colour Systems & Standards; ii) Industrialization of Paints and Pigments • PART III. The Standardization of Colour 1900–1959: i) Colour Standards 1900–1939; ii) The 1930s Colour Palette; iii) Colour Standards 1938–1959; iv) The 1950s Colour Palette

About the Author

Historian of architectural paint and colour Patrick Baty works as a consultant in the decoration of historic buildings and is proprietor of ‘Papers and Paints’ in London. He has been employed by Dulux and Little Greene to develop ranges of traditional paint colours for English Heritage, and he regularly lectures on the subject of paint and paint colour in 18th- and 19th-century interiors.

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