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Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Colour

Chromatopia: An Illustrated History of Colour


David Coles

ISBN 9781760760021

Throughout history, pigments have been made from deadly metals, poisonous minerals, urine, cow dung, and even crushed insects. From grinding down beetles and burning animal bones to alchemy and pure luck, Chromatopia reveals how fifty of history’s most vivid colour pigments were made, including Vermilion, Saffron, Indian Yellow, Tyrian Purple and Mummy Brown.

Featuring detailed color histories, a section on working with monochromatic color, and “recipes” for paint-making, Chromatopia provides an eclectic story of how synthetic colors came to be. Red lead, for example, was invented by the ancient Greeks by roasting white lead, and it became the dominant red in medieval painting.

See a brief video for Chromatopia here.