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The Secret Lives of Color
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
The unforgettable, unknown history of colors and the vivid stories behind them in a beautiful multi-colored volume The Secret Lives of Color tells the unusual stories of seventy-five 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 colors and where they come from (whether Van Gogh's chrome yellow sunflowers or punk's fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilization. Across fashion and politics, art and war, the secret lives of color tell the vivid story of our culture. A mind-expanding tour of the world without leaving your paintbox. Every color has a story, and here are some of the most alluring, alarming, and thought-provoking. Simon Garfield, author of Just My Type
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Cazxxx
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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Pickpick

I wasn‘t sure how interesting this would be but it was fascinating to read about the history of colours and the stories behind each one. Recommended!

currentlyreadinginCO Just walked out of a bookstore where I passed on this and now I'm feeling regret! 11mo
Cazxxx @currentlyreadinginCO Oh no! I hate when that happens 🤦🏼‍♀️ 11mo
43 likes1 stack add2 comments
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SteffSteffs
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Riveted_Reader_Melissa
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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My #Pantone2023 challenge so far….

@Clwojick

Sharpeipup Love your tracking system. 1y
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @Sharpeipup I use a free app called Studio (well now it might be Go Daddy Studio 😂, they were recently bought). But it lets me put the original post with the colors as the background and I just layer the cover screenshots on top. (edited) 1y
Clwojick Awesome! 1y
44 likes3 comments
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BekaReid
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Pickpick

I found this an interesting history of various colors, shades, dyes, and hues. It makes a great reference or coffee table book.

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IndoorDame
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Pickpick

My last #Bookspin of 2022 was a great read! I‘ve seen several other nonfiction color anthologies since I bought this one a few years back, each with their own bent. And I‘d definitely be tempted to try one of the others as well. Especially the Pantone one. This one is a bit random in what info it sources and what colors it includes, but it skews heavily towards the history of color in fine art and politics. @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! This one isn't really a color book per se, but I genuinely loved it as the author did such a nice job of balancing the science and emotion that come with trying to use color in the home. 1y
IndoorDame @TheAromaofBooks looks awesome, thanks! (edited) 1y
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IndoorDame
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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From the Amber chapter:

“The Greeks called the gemstone ELEKTRON, associating it with light from the sun. (This is the origin of the English words ELECTRIC and ELECTRON.)”

I had no idea!

TheAromaofBooks I've had this book on my TBR for a while now! It looks so intriguing! 2y
IndoorDame @TheAromaofBooks I‘m loving it! It‘s a bit of a hodgepodge of facts. Some colors they tell you the history of its use in fine art, some in fashion or cosmetics, politics, occasionally there‘s even a specific anecdote about a person who used it, invented it, made it famous… The lack of parallel structure would definitely drive some readers crazy, but so far I‘m enjoying being surprised. 2y
Aimeesue What a pretty cover! 2y
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IndoorDame @Aimeesue Yes! I couldn‘t catch it in the photo, but the background is matte and the dots aren‘t, so they shine when they catch the light (edited) 2y
Aimeesue Ooooooh! 😍 2y
TheAromaofBooks I usually enjoy rambly sorts of nonfiction, so this is definitely going to be up my alley!! 2y
51 likes2 stack adds7 comments
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IndoorDame
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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I had no idea that there was a controversy about yellow books that started in France in the mid 19th century and spread through Europe! Imagine if we still bound all our “sensationalist” material in a single color. It would probably be banned before it even got printed!

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BekaReid
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Rainy Sunday afternoon reading

RaeLovesToRead 😍😍😍 kitty!!! 2y
14 likes1 comment
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jlhammar
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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I learned so many fun facts from this book. Really enjoyed it. Link to an interesting episode of 99% Invisible with the author in the comments.

#OminousOctober #Orange
@Eggs @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

55 likes2 comments
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Riveted_Reader_Melissa
Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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I saw some of you posting for this color challenge, so I thought I‘d see where my books fit so far in this #Pantone2022 challenge. Hopefully I‘m doing it right 😉. Thanks for another fun challenge @Clwojick and Litsy

Clwojick Youre doing great! You have some spot on matches! 💜💖🧡 2y
45 likes1 comment
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BennettBookworm
Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Thank you so so much @mabell OMG this book is too beautiful!! And I‘m SOOO eager to try all of these amazing recipes with your loving notes!! Your “hosting gift” was beyond beyond thoughtful and I‘m so grateful!! So much fun reading and baking to look forward to!! #recipeswap

TheAromaofBooks Oh my gosh that book looks so fun!!! 2y
LeahBergen What a pretty book! 2y
mabell I‘m so glad you had this book on your list - it looks very cool! I might have to get this one too 😄 I hope you enjoy the recipes! 2y
BennettBookworm I certainly will!! @mabell (edited) 2y
Ddzmini Great cover 🤗 2y
50 likes3 stack adds5 comments
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KCofKaysville
Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Pickpick

Really good book on color in art or materials used to make colors over the ages. Lots of trivia. Pages are colored!

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Aida_Nam
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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Pickpick

The authour is an adept storyteller. The colours discussed in the book attain an anthropomorphic quality as we read about them. It is not merely a chronicling of facts. It is a narration of history, facts, symbolisms, perceptions and science brought threaded together with a poetic language.

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Aida_Nam
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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The book came to a close as beautifully as it began. It began and ended with two colours that we humans perceive as divine and beautiful and yet terrifying.

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Aida_Nam
Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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It was Shakespeare who cemented the relationship between green and envy. With The Merchant of Venice, written in the late 1590s, he gave us “green-eyed jealousy”; in Othello (1603), he has Iago mention “the green-ey‘d monster, which doth mock / The meat it feeds on.” - Kassia St.Clair

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Aida_Nam
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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"Color can be found in the most unpromising of places." - Kassia St. Clair

It was an almost inconsequential sentence in the book but it made me wonder about what makes a place unpromising. Also we have a tendency to associate colours with a notion of positivity, so it seemed intriguing if taken in a literal sense...

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Aida_Nam
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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As with most myths, this one contains a nub of truth overlaid with a great deal of embellishment.

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Aida_Nam
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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In an article on baby clothes in the New York Times in 1893 the rule stated was that you should “always give pink to a boy and blue to a girl.” Neither the author nor the woman in the shop whom she was interviewing were quite sure why, but the author hazarded a tongue-in-cheek guess. “[T]he boy‘s outlook is so much more roseate than the girl‘s,” she wrote, “that it is enough to make a girl baby blue to think of living a woman‘s life in the world.”

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Aida_Nam
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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The author's take on Orange's personality is very intriguing...

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Aida_Nam
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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Someone wearing a snow-pale winter coat telegraphs a subtle visual message: “I do not need to take public transportation.” - By Kassia St. Claire in The secret lives of colour.

The link between colors and social hierarchy in history often gets conveyed merely as a chronicle of facts. But I am enjoying these little quips that the author adds right after these facts. It adds to the quality of narration.

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Aida_Nam
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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Van Gogh‘s paintings in Amsterdam over the past few years has shown that some of the chrome yellow in the flowers‘ petals has darkened significantly, due to the reaction of chrome yellow with other pigments in sunlight. Van Gogh‘s sunflowers, it seems, are wilting, just as their real-life counterparts did.

#colours #secretlivesofcolour #kassia

The ephemerality of pigments and life.

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Aida_Nam
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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"...Because of its link with light, white has laid deep roots in the human psyche and, like anything divine, can simultaneously inspire awe and instill terror in the human heart." - Secret Lives of Colour

#secretlivesofcolour #colours #colors

Aida_Nam @Milara Indeed. 3y
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Aida_Nam
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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“I fell in love with colors in the way most people fall in love: while concentrating on something else.”

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Aida_Nam
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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"Colors, therefore, should be understood as subjective cultural creations: you could no more meaningfully secure a precise universal definition for all the known shades than you could plot the coordinates of a dream."

#secretlivesofcolors #colors

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LitLoverClare
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Pickpick

I absolutely loved this book! Having a design background, I was definitely interested in this book and learning more about the history of different colors. It was really cool learning how some of the colors got their names as well as how far back some of the colors dated. #color #colordesign #colortheory

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TheEllieMo
Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Eggs Well done 👍🏼📚🤩 4y
27 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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annamatopoetry
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Pickpick

Delightful! I had expected more cultural history and less pigment chemistry, and as a result, liked the more culture-focused chapters better, but it was all very interesting. A coworker who paints a lot in oil has already requested to borrow it. Thanks @silentrequiem !

silentrequiem Glad you enjoyed it! I saw it at the store and it screamed you. Along with the paint chip calendar. 4y
11 likes1 comment
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annamatopoetry
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Book still ok, people at the table next to me are talking paleo diets and I want to take a fucking sledge hammer to them because they don't fucking understand any part of human biology, macroevolution or gastroenterology, and especially not endocrinology.

annamatopoetry Oh my god they're fucking added gender and x and y chromosomes and I want to dieeee 4y
annamatopoetry Even half broken headphones is better than this 4y
7 likes2 comments
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annamatopoetry
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Went to Umbria today as I was bored with coffee works' lack of pastries. Less photogenic table, but raspberry croissant (that leaked all over my hand but I'm not mad) so win. I'm going to make my coworker who paints read this book it's so much about the history of pigment creation.

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annamatopoetry
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Reading at the coffee shop with a breakfast burrito for dinner as Lucas is out for the night. We went to a much delayed birthday Afternoon Tea earlier today, and I was so stuffed I didn't eat a bit for five hours. Then I took down christmas and after this, I'm heading to the gym.

Emilymdxn Lovely morning reading set up! 4y
10 likes1 comment
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annamatopoetry
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Footnote, mostly unrelated: I fucking hate American teeth, and American attitudes to dental stuff, so damn much. One of the pros of socialized health care is that providers won't do unnecessary shit; you wear braces if your bite requires it, not esthetics, you don't get to bleach your teeth. I hate when British actors with normal teeth get roles in the US and suddenly have horrible bluish sugar cubes. fucking gross & emblematic of US pop culture

Buechersuechtling A thing I have never thought about or noticed. Maybe I try to pay attention throughout the year. 4y
7 likes1 comment
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annamatopoetry
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Only a few pages in but really liking it so far! Also reminds me of fundamentally different the medieval mindset is to anything modern, and that I need to get back into A Distant Mirror.

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annamatopoetry
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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Bifday present from @silentrequiem ♥️♥️♥️

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IndoorDame
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Not exactly chilling, but the geeky artist in me was SO excited when I stumbled on this book at B&N! #chillingphotochallenge #oragnge #teamstoker @TheReadingMermaid

BeansPage 🧟‍♀️ 5y
27 likes1 comment
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TaeZ
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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This book is all shades of interesting

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kuhkuhbird
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Loving this book by Kassia St. Clair. I was originally intrigued by after listening to the podcast by 99% Invisible: https://play.google.com/music/m/Dprkes2cosbnkpqfzvxcggwvpzi?t=340_The_Secret_Liv...

Easily my favorite read so far this year!

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SitsWithaBook
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Such a gorgeous book! About to dive in!

Djspens Love the cover! 5y
SW-T I‘ve seen this but haven‘t read it. Sounds fun. Hope you enjoy - looking forward to your review on this one! 5y
SheReadsAndWrites My husband read this and LOVED IT! 5y
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Beccas
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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Reading in bed on a Saturday morning .
I am loving this book. I'm learning something amazing on almost every colour I read about.

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moonsinjune
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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This book is dope.

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Lindy
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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Roman Mars recently had author Kassia St Clair on his podcast to talk about colour. It‘s a delightful interview and you can listen here: https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-secret-lives-of-color/

WanderingBookaneer I think @BookishMarginalia wanted to read this one. 5y
AnneCecilie Thanks for the tip. I will definitely check this out 5y
45 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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A_woman_on_a_bike
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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Pickpick

I have to be honest and say I picked up this book because it looked so beautiful. Who says you shouldn‘t judge a book by its cover? 😉 I have then been enthralled by it. In it the author discusses the history, chemistry, societal effect, toxicity, manufacture, and individual examples of the use of over 70 colours divided into groups of whites, yellows, oranges, reds and so on. It sounds dry but she writes with such contagious interest - I loved it

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TiffanyMichele
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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#bellesbookishnewyear19 Day 19: “Book and fairy lights 🧚‍♂️🧚🏼‍♀️”
Well I don‘t have any fairy lights, so twinkle ones it is!
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I recently got this book, “the secret lives of color.” It tells you the origin for all the colors! It is amazing and beautiful. 🥰
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#writersofinstagram #reader #readersofinstagram #readers #twinklelights #thesecretlivesofcolour #authorsofinstagram #writersofinstagram

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Tonton
The Secret Lives of Color | Kassia St Clair
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Pickpick

Such a brilliantly designed book! Lovely, quiet, intriguing history of selected 75 colors. Perfect for dipping into and savoring a color at a time; but bet you can‘t stop at one unless you have immense willpower. So fascinating. A guilty and rare pleasure is going to this incredible pigment store: https://pigment.tokyo/article/detail?id=1 Now I have something to to enjoy at home!

Ericalambbrown What a fascinating topic for a book! 6y
51 likes5 stack adds1 comment
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Lindy
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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Pretty #endpapers.

gibblr 😍😍😍😍 6y
gradcat Yaaas! 6y
booksandsympathy Those are lovely 6y
56 likes3 comments
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Lindy
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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Estate inventories show that in 1700, 33% of nobles‘ & 44% of officers‘ clothing was black; it was popular with domestics too, making up 29% of their wardrobes. At times the streets must have resembled Rembrandt‘s paintings Sampling Officials (1662) [above, from Internet] or Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp (1632): crowds of identikit black-clad folk jostling for space.

LeahBergen Perfect. About 90% of my wardrobe is black. 😆 6y
Lindy @LeahBergen I learned that before there good black dyes, clothes were mostly greyish brown. The excitement over black still hasn‘t abated. 6y
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Lindy
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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Allusions to heliotrope also crop up in the works of JK Rowling, DH Lawrence, PG Wodehouse, James Joyce and Joseph Conrad. The word is pleasurable to say, filling the mouth like a rich, buttery sauce. Added to which, the colour itself is intriguing: antiquated, unusual and just a little bit brassy.

(Internet photo)

rubyslippersreads And there is a Miss Heliotrope in 6y
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Lindy
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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The deliciously immoral anti-heroine of Oscar Wilde‘s An Ideal Husband, Mrs Cheveley, makes her entrance in heliotrope and diamonds before swashbuckling her way through the remainder of the play and commandeering all the best lines.

(Internet photo)

saresmoore I love it! 6y
Lindy @saresmoore Now I want to see this play! 6y
saresmoore Same! I went right away and downloaded the free ebook. 6y
Lindy @saresmoore I‘ve just borrowed the audiobook via Hoopla. 👯‍♂️ 6y
38 likes4 comments
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Lindy
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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Pickpick

I like what Simon Garfield said about this: “A mind-expanding tour of the world without leaving your paintbox.” It was fun to dip in and out of these short essays in between reading other things. Bonus #1: a fresh supply of amazing trivia to share with my friends. Bonus #2: this very cool cover with cut-out dots that reveal colours underneath. (Do you see how they cleverly match the words in the text?)

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Lindy
The Secret Lives of Colour | Kassia St Clair
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Perhaps the final word on the irrational dislike of green should go to Wassily Kandinsky: ‘Absolute green is the most anesthetising colour possible … similar to a fat cow, full of good health, lying down, rooted, capable only of ruminating and contemplating the world through its stupid, inexpressive eyes.‘

[Yikes! And who says a cow‘s eyes are inexpressive??]

Tonton @Lindy I just ordered this!😎 6y
Lindy @Tonton 👍 6y
LeahBergen I love green. 😆 6y
Lindy @LeahBergen 💚👯‍♂️💚 6y
Texreader I clearly don‘t like this guy! Green‘s my fave color 6y
33 likes5 comments