Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Trade in Yours
For a £3.06 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour [Paperback]

Philip Ball
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: £14.99
Price: £10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
You Save: £4.60 (31%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 7 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 12 July? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £8.99  
Hardcover --  
Paperback £10.39  
Trade In this Item for up to £3.06
Trade in Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £3.06, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Book Description

1 May 2008
Colour in art - as in life - is both inspiring and uplifting, but where does it come from? How have artists found new hues, and how have these influenced their work? Beginning with the ancients - when just a handful of pigments made up the artist's palette - and charting the discoveries and developments that have led to the many splendoured rainbow of modern paints, Bright Earth brings the story of colour spectacularly alive. Packed with anecdotes about lucky accidents and hapless misfortunes in the quests for new colours, it provides an entertaining and fascinating new perspective on the science of art.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Spend £30 and get Norton 360 21.0 - 3 Computers, 1 Year 2014 for £24.99. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)

Frequently Bought Together

Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour + Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox + Colour: Making and Using Dyes and Pigments
Price For All Three: £27.38

Some of these items are dispatched sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together

Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099507137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099507130
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


" every sense. Ball's book is the volume that has been missing from my library" (Guardian)

"Brings the mysterious subject of colour wonderfully alive. Quite literally an eye-opener" (Economist)

"A succinct and elegantly structured new survey of Western painting. Ball pitches his learning just right between academic history and a highly readable series of anecdotes and biographical sketches" (Daily Mail)

"Full of fascinating vignettes. Philip Ball writes engagingly on complicated topics" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Scattered with attractive particles, sparkles with redolent names... A solid, well-researched compendium of information" (TLS)

Book Description

A timely reissue of a brilliant exploration of the science of art and of colour

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 9 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I don't know about "no greater tale", but this book is a fascinating tale about the science of colour and how colours have been used in art. Its strength is when it talks about the technology and development of colours for paints. Hence the sections on naturally occurring dyes and the development of man-made colours are the best. The final chapters are less interesting, reading at times like lists of art movements. I would have liked to have seen many more colour illustrations, but I suppose the cost would have been prohibitive. I wondered about the organisation, too: the book seemed to jump about a bit, and I found myself referring to the index a great deal to remind myself, say, exactly what Prussian blue was (I think this one was mentioned several times before it was first properly explained). But these are quibbles.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE best book on colour 6 Nov 2009
A quite excellent book, heartily recommended. I agree with nearly all the positive comments that previous reviewers have made. It is such a pleasure to read a book about colour that is factual, analytical, logical and based on science, compared with books on the subject written by people on the arts side, which can be inaccurate, woolly, and difficult to tie down. This is one of the few books that I have read 3 times. It does jump about a bit, but there's no other way to present a multidimensional array of info in a linear format.

I do hope that it reaches a second edition, in hardback, longer, with plenty of colour plates and produced to high standards. The author and we deserve it.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glorious fusion of art and science 28 Aug 2008
By Nat
Philip Ball takes you on a fascinating journey of colour through the ages, from the ancient grinding of pigments to the digital creation of hues. You learn how paints and dyes were made and new colours discovered; how printing and photography evolved; the cultural and economic climate in which artists worked; and many more aspects of this ambitious theme. The book is full of quotes, facts, anecdotes, diagrams and copies of artwork. It is for anyone interested in art history, colour theory, chemistry, and materials. A very enjoyable read.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bright Earth 2 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A book packed with information about all aspects of colour in art; from how ancient artists dealt with colour to the manufacture of pigments. It is an illuminating book, not at all pompously written but intelligently so. It was a fascinating aspect of the History of art in a paperback! Would recomend it to anyone seriously interested in painting, or even weekend sploshers!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Was this review helpful?   Let us know

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category