The Secret Lives of Color

About the Author

Kassia St. Clair is a freelance journalist and author based in London. She graduated from Bristol University with a first-class honors degree in history in 2007 and went on to do a master’s degree at Oxford. There she wrote her dissertation on women’s masquerade costumes during the 18th century and graduated with distinction. She has since written about design and culture for publications including The Economist, House & Garden, Quartz, and the New Statesman. She has had a column about color in Elle Decoration since 2013 and is a former assistant books and arts editor for The Economist.

The Secret Lives of Color

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Kassia St. Clair

The unforgettable, unknown history of colors and the vivid stories behind them in a beautiful multicolored volume.

 

The Secret Lives of Color tells the unusual stories of 75 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 colors and where they come from (whether Van Gogh’s chrome yellow sunflowers or punk’s fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilization. Across fashion and politics, art and war, the secret lives of color tell the vivid story of our culture.

  • Hardcover
  • 5.3125 x 8.5 inches
  • 320 pages
  • Published: 2017


Editorial Reviews

“Beautifully written and thoughtfully produced . . . Full of anecdotes and fascinating research, this elegant compendium has all the answers.” —Nina Martyris, NPR’s Best Books of 2017

“If you adore color, you’ll love The Secret Lives of Color. This passionate and majestic compendium will leave you bathed in the gorgeous optics of light.” —Elle

“A kaleidoscope of charming, discursive essays . . . A light and lively guide [that] offers plenty of fresh clues for the brain’s colorful calculations.” —The Economist

“The history of colors, it turns out, is the story of science as well as art. Kassia St. Clair’s entertaining book brings them both into vivid relief.” —The Wall Street Journal

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