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Summary

The Secret Lives of Colour tells the unusual stories of the 75 most 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 colours and where they come from (whether Van Gogh's chrome yellow sunflowers or punk's fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilisation. Across fashion and politics, art and war, The Secret Lives of Colour tell the vivid story of our culture.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

©2016 Kassia St Clair (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Critic reviews

"A mind-expanding tour of the world without leaving your paintbox. Every colour has a story, and here are some of the most alluring, alarming, and thought-provoking. Very hard painting the hallway magnolia after this inspiring primer." (Simon Garfield) 

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More a reference book

Pick any colour.... You will find its provenance here. Very well researched and delivered. With a good description of each colour. The short stories attached, gave each hue greater understanding.

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Very intriguing

Smooth and really interesting listening. Many historical facts about Colours. I do really recommend this audiobook

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excellent

really interesting and insightful. it's written in a way that's engaging but easily listened to, and the author/narrator has a really nice flow. so many interesting facts from this and a lovely addition to any previous art history knowledge

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Well worth a listen.

The content fascinating. The reader brilliant. If you are interested in colour this book is a delight, my only quibble, it wasn't long enough there could of been so many more colours.....Maybe another book Ms St Clair?

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Utterly boring

Utterly boring and only very marginally to so with colour in many places! It does not hep that the writer is also the reader...and she has a very sleepy way about her

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fascinating

fascinating and interesting for all, especially artists and art historians.. Well researched, and easy to follow with an excellent narrator

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loved this

beautifuly written and very intresting. this was a delight to listen too I would highly recommend

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Loved the book

Fascinating history of colour. I learnt sooo much!!! Highly recommended if you are an artist.

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Incredibly informative, entertaining and beautifully read.

I loved this book. Fascinating stories about colours but in relation to art and culture. The only bad thing was that it wasn’t long enough. I hope there is another book with more stories.

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Really insightful

I really enjoyed hearing the history and origins of colours. It got a little repetitive after a while, but I listened to it all over just a few days.

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  • Anrijs
  • 08-06-21

A fine treatease on social history, if a bit detached.

This is a well researched history of not so much of colours rather than paints.

When seeing the title I did expect that there will at least some reveal of research on how brain works to make sense of colours.

The narrator, who is the writer herself, is outstanding. You can listen to her Londoner’s accent for hours, even if she recited terms and conditions of an insurance contract.