Color: A Natural History of the Palette

Color: A Natural History of the Palette

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.

Title:Color: A Natural History of the Palette
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780812971422
Format Type:

About Victoria Finlay

Victoria Finlay is a writer and journalist, known for her books on colour and jewels. Her most famous book is


    Color: A Natural History of the Palette Reviews

  • Michael Martin

    The disclaimers "I imagine", "perhaps", "possibly", "it could be that" appear in this NON-FICTION book far more times than they should. While I liked the content of about three-quarters of the book, i...

  • Maura

    Funny story with this book - got to page 112 and discovered that pages 113 to 146 were missing! Thankfully, Random House (publisher) came to the rescue and sent me a replacement copy. Until it came I ...

  • Kiwiflora

    I remember when I was a child getting a box of paints in small tubes. I was fascinated by the names of the colours, words I had never heard of before - vermillion, magenta, aquamarine, cochineal, carm...

  • Jenny

    Having an affinity for all things color, I was attracted to the cover of Color: A Natural History of the Palette while visiting the Met one afternoon about a year ago. I bought it and have been readin...

  • Nancy McClure

    LOVE me a book where I can pick a chapter and read up on what's been taunting my mind - thus I love anthologies and various other collections.in Color, I found a fantastic historical recounting of the...

  • LuAnn

    I’d call this a travelogue on the origin of pigments and dyes of each rainbow color, and, I believe, the only book to really tackle the history of color. This book had been on my radar a while, but ...

  • Tracey

    In an impressive mix of history, science and travelogue. Ms. Finlay shares with her readers the results of her worldwide search for the pigments and dyes and that humankind has used over the ages. Eac...

  • Kiersten

    Oh, this book had so much promise! And yet, it fell flat... I was expecting to read more of a history book, but it turned out to be a travelogue/memoir, and a tad too self-involved for my tastes. More...

  • Miles

    This was an enjoyable book to read, but ultimately more of a travel book than a book about color. The adventures of the author tend to be given rather more weight than the subject....

  • Velvetink

    Be seduced by the history of pigments. Basically about the author's travels while seeking out the origins of ancient colours. I loved this and gladdened by the extensive notes and bibliography. ...