The unforgettable history of colours and the vivid stories behind them in a beautiful multi-coloured volume
'A mind-expanding tour of the world without leaving your paintbox. Every colour has a story, and here are some of the most alluring, alarming, and thought-provoking. Very hard painting the hallway magnolia after this inspiring primer.'
The Secret Lives of Colour tells the unusual stories of the 75 most 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 history. In this book Kassia St Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colours and where they come from (whether Van Gogh's chrome yellow sunflowers or punk's fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilisation. Across fashion and politics, art and war, The Secret Lives of Colour tell the vivid story of our culture.
Kassia St Clair studied the history of women's dress and the masquerade during the eighteenth-century at Bristol and Oxford. She has since written about design and culture for the Economist, House & Garden, Quartz and 1843, and has had a column about colour in Elle Decoration since 2013. She lives in London.
A mind-expanding tour of the world without leaving your paintbox. Every colour has a story, and here are some of the most alluring, alarming, and thought-provoking. Very hard painting the hallway magnolia after this inspiring primer
— SIMON GARFIELD
Kassia St Clair obviously thinks (like any sensible person) that the saying 'don't judge a book by its cover' is nonsense. The cover of this one is dotted with tiny holes, each revealing a different colour. Such attention to detail is beautiful, and the same is true of the book's contents — Daily Mail
Charming — FINANCIAL TIMES
From pink boys' clothes to blue warpaint; why orange spells danger and other colourful tales — DAILY TELEGRAPH
Inspiring, compelling and beautifully designed . . . this will appeal to anyone — LADY
Well-researched and engaging — House & Garden
This is a gorgeous book — Guardian, 'Stocking Fillers'
A vivid exploration of the world of colour and our colourful world . . . St Clair is able to dance effortlessly through an astonishing range of subjects . . . What The Secret Lives of Colour offers really is, in some sense, a flash portrait of human civilisation, a zigzagging and unpredictable exploration of how significantly colour has shaped histories and disciplines, fuelled empires, changed the nature of war and caused species to flourish or face extinction — Royal Society of Chemistry Magazine
Fascinating — Country Living
Kassia St. Clair writes with style, energy and knowledge, working through a huge range of material and explaining many mysteries of colour succinctly and wittily — The Spectator
Kassia St Clair, columnist at Elle Decoration, is well-placed to observe the important place that colour has in human civilisation and development — The Oldie
The real joy of the book lies in the main chapters, where each section has its appropriate colour - all the way from lead white to pitch black - down the outer strip of each page. Almost every page throws up unexpected detail and insight...St Clair's book is a valuable resource not only for design-conscious home-owners, but also students, who can delve into her extraordinarily full bibliography and notes — Times Literary Supplement