Great book about pigments

From: Katharine Thayer ^lt;>
Date: 06/12/04-09:39:41 AM Z
Message-id: <>

This book was published in 2002, but if it's been discussed here I've
missed it. It's "Color" by Victoria Finlay and it's the best read on
pigments I've seen. The section on Indian Yellow alone is worth whatever
effort it takes to find it. Phillip Ball assumed that the end of the
search for the source of Indian Yellow was in that 1833 letter; Ms
Finlay took that letter as the beginning of her search; the story of her
search for Indian Yellow is priceless, a real hoot. And the next time
someone says, as either the Vermeer character or his patron said in "The
Girl with the Pearl Earring" that Indian Yellow was made from the urine
of cows who ate only mango leaves, well, you might take that with just a
grain of salt. She doesn't come right out and say that the letter was a
hoax, but the facts, or lack of them, rather speak for themselves I
think. Anyway, it's a great book with great observations about all kinds
of things in addition to pigments, like the fact that the Stradivarius
violins in the museum at Cremona "have to be played every day, so that
they remain violins rather than reverting to their natural state of
being pieces of wood." I really like this book.
Received on Sat Jun 12 20:40:45 2004

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