I am working my way through Color by Victoria Finlay. This book explores the historical background of colors. I have thus far enjoyed the histories of ochre, brown, black, and white. Finlay does a nice job balancing between history and anecdote to make it an entertaining read. The book is dense at times, truthfully this is my second attempt at it. None the less, I find it well worth the effort. For example- I didn’t know yellow pencils were painted yellow because the graphite originated in China and the color yellow made them look “oriental” . I also just finished a section on how white lead paint was used in the early days for both painting and makeup. As we now know, many pale young women died of lead poisoning.
Color, Victoria Finlay, 2002, The Ballantine Publishing Group