Elizabeth's Reviews > Color: A Natural History of the Palette

Color by Victoria Finlay
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's review
Dec 27, 2006

really liked it
bookshelves: art, nonfiction
Recommended for: Art Enthusiasts
Read in June, 2007

It took a while to finish, but this book was pretty darn compelling. I'm actually a bit surprised by the order of the chapters (each chapter follows the authors foray into the history of that color), because the last couple chapters were the strongest. The author (a former arts journalist for the South China Morning Post) sneaks into Afghanistan during the Taliban rule to take a look at the Lapis Lazuli mines and treks all over the world to explore the ancient roots of dying and pigmentation. She travels to Balbek to find mollusks that secrete Tyrinian Purple dye, explores the saffron fields in Iran and Spain to find the source of yellow, and checks out sacred dirt in Samoa. I bet this book was a lot of fun to research and write.

My previous review:

So far this book is a wild trip through the history of paints and pencils. Did you know the first pencils were made out of willow? And the color black was made out of corpses bones? It's fairly interesting so far and the writing style is lively. I would recommend this book for people who are interested in the fine arts.

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