A world without colour is unthinkable, and archaeologists have proved that the desire to mimic nature's hues in art is one of the earliest human instincts. In their attempts to create colour, artists, craftsmen and scientists have used every possible source, from the purple tears of sea snails and the blood of crushed beetles, to poisonous white lead and sacred Australian earth. In the process, fortunes have been made and lost, empires flourished and collapsed and our understanding of the world transformed. In this fascinating book, Victoria Finlay traces the astonishing history of man's attempt to reproduce the rainbow - one colour at a time. This is the first extensively illustrated edition of Colour to be published and The Folio Society has spent months inclose consultation with the author researching the perfect illustrations to publish alongside a newly edited text. The result is a thrilling visual exploration of Finlay's subject, from aerial photography of Australia's red centre to chalk frescoes in Pompeii, from Japanese ink drawings to paintings by Monet, Van Gogh and Titian and from the mosaics of Byzantium to woven textiles in Mexico. Famous and little-known works of art lie next to dramatic photographs and fascinating prints in this glorious selection of over 100 illustrations.