The Colour Code

Paul Simpson


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Profile Books Ltd
7 October 2021
ISBN: 9781781256268
352 pages

From the publisher

How is The Colour Code different to other books on colour? Well, the short answer is that it is a whole lot more fun - not least because it is extensively illustrated. We don't just get a story about Mummy Brown (the pigment made from Egyptian mummies), we see a painting created with pigments from the remains of French kings. We are reminded of the blue/gold dress that swept Twitter, view paintings by Mondrian (red ones sell for higher prices) and Van Eyck (he invented an enduring green), and inspect the red soles of Louboutin shoes. We see what lumps of Indian yellow look like, while reading what they are made of (strained cow's urine). We get to see the latest most vibrant pigment - YinMn Blue - and have a real estate agent's tour of Frank Sinatra's ranch (he was obsessed by orange). We see William Morris's arsenic-inflected wallpapers and hear about whether wallpaper killed Napoleon. We encounter the pink pussy hats worn on the Women's March and Elvis's pink jackets from Lansky's in Memphis, take in a history of the black dress from Audrey Hepburn to Princess Diana and a rare black chicken (even its eggs are black) from Indonesia. Featuring a cast of actors, artists, chemists, composers, dentists, dictators, fashion designers, film-makers, gods, musicians, mystics, physicists, poets, quacks, tigers and tycoons, The Colour Code will change the way we all perceive the spectrum - and see the world.