Colour: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay is indeed a history of pigments and colours, but is as much a work of travel writing, as Finlay makes her way across the globe in search of the roots of colours used for art and industry. This well-written trip is an engaging and interesting look at the origins of colours found in childhood paintboxes. Rose madder, burnt sienna, lapis, Prussian blue, ochre – the exotic is made accessible through Finlay’s searches.
Paperback, 464 pages, Random House, 2003. $10.17 at Amazon.