Many moons ago, I studied Fine Art and English Literature at uni – I loved it – so much so that I went on to study for a Masters Degree in Literture and History. These days, I don’t get so much time to read as I used to and I really miss reading and getting lost in a good book.
I also love collecting all sorts of books about colour and I hoard colour charts (the Pantone colour charts are a major obsession, it’s quite a problem). Recently, I started to read a book called The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair, it’s a fascinating read full of unusual stories about the origins and history of certain colours and is a unique study of human civilisation.
As I’ve been trying very hard (and I have found it mightily difficult) to work with a very limited colour palette, I’ve been particularly fascinated by the chapter on different shades of white. There’s a wonderful story about the shade of white called Isabelline – referred to as a “dingy yellow-white” – which dates back to the 1600’s and is all about Archduchess Isabella Clara Eugenia and the colour of her undergarments. Such a pretty name for a colour but a rather unglamorous history. Although, I think that the fact that the colour of the manes and tails of Palamino horses is also referred to as Isabelline is rather nice.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I’ve been making more white pieces and I think I might call this little collection ‘Isabelline’ after Archduchess Isabella and those beautiful horses. Here’s a little look at a few more pieces I’ve been working on.
chapter on White shades – The Secret Lives of Colours by Kassia St Clair