A Natural History of the Palette
Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812971422, 464pp.
Publication Date: December 30, 2003
Discover the tantalizing true stories behind your favorite colors.
For example: Cleopatra used saffron—a source of the color yellow—for seduction. Extracted from an Afghan mine, the blue “ultramarine” paint used by Michelangelo was so expensive he couldn’t afford to buy it himself. Since ancient times, carmine red—still found in lipsticks and Cherry Coke today—has come from the blood of insects.
"From the Hardcover edition."
“This is a rare and wonderful book–a model of erudition and charm, the writing elegant and precise, and with at least one new and fascinating revelation on every single page. I could not be more enthusiastic.”
–Simon Winchester, author ofThe Professor and the Madman
“Until I read this book, I was colorblind.”
"Color is the essence of landscape, of mood, of our whole perception of the physical world. Victoria Finlay has traveled through Iran, Afghanistan, and other places to investigate the origin of all those tantalizingly sensual ochers and reds and blues. What a creative idea for a book!”
–Robert D. Kaplan, author of The Ends of the Earth and Eastward to Tartary
"In this engaging travelogue, a rainbow of hues determined the author’s choice of destinations. . . . By the time you read ‘Violet,’ you will have traversed much of the world, sharing Finlay’s contagious fascination with color.”
–Condé Nast Traveler
"Loaded with fascinating tidbits, this portrait of colors and their histories will provide readers with lots of conversation-starters.”