The Secret Lives of Colour
This book was published last year so I’m a bit late, but people seemed so interested when I posted a photo of this book on my Instagram account that I thought I’d do a quick review. I reserved The Secret Lives of Colour at my local library ages ago, and it finally arrived at the end of June. So it’s obviously a popular book.
It’s also a very covetable book. Underneath each little circular hole punched out of the white cover is a different colour. A bit like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, someone suggested on Instagram! And then the edges of the pages in each section are printed with the colour being discussed, so that there is a rainbow effect when the book is closed.
I read somewhere that displaying books with their spines outwards is a relatively recent development. Books used to have their titles printed on the edge of the pages and were stored with their spines against the wall. The Secret Lives of Colour might tempt you to revert to the old custom!
The book tells the stories of 75 colours, many you’ve probably never heard of. I didn’t know Isabelline was a colour, much less that it’s reputed to be named after a French queen’s dirty undies!
Never come across Mountbatten Pink? For a while it was considered to be the best camouflage for Royal Navy ships during the Second World War. Dragon’s Blood is a wonderful name for a red, but who knew it was made from the resin of a tree?
Most sections are a couple of pages or less, and quite dense reading, covering the history of each colour, stories relating to it, and the artists who used it. Plus its good and bad properties, such as reacting with the canvas or other colours, or poisoning its makers and users!
So this is a book to come back to repeatedly, rather than reading from cover to cover. Ideal bedtime reading, to accompany a cuppa, or any of those other occasions when you don’t have much time but would like something to occupy your brain.
These days I only buy books I know I’m going to go back to, which is why I love my local library. I can try out authors before committing myself. The Secret Lives of Colour would be a great investment for any household interested in art, design, history, or little nuggets of information most people don’t know!