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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Read
I bought this book initially for a friend who paints, but while looking through it, I was hooked. It is absolutely fascinating. It covers travel, history, art and science. Needless to say my friend will not be receiving the first copy I bought. It is such an easy book to read. I definitely will be looking into other books on the subject as shown in the bibliograpy of...
Published on 23 Nov 2002 by armilla

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
This book was given away as a present without reading it first. So this 'average' rating is not representative.
Published 6 days ago by John


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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Read, 23 Nov 2002
I bought this book initially for a friend who paints, but while looking through it, I was hooked. It is absolutely fascinating. It covers travel, history, art and science. Needless to say my friend will not be receiving the first copy I bought. It is such an easy book to read. I definitely will be looking into other books on the subject as shown in the bibliograpy of this book. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An art history student's answer to prayer, 3 Oct 2002
By 
christine harrison (donington on bain, louth United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I've been looking for a book like this for ages. Victoria Finlay's sub-title (Travels Through the Paint-box)describes this fascinating tome well.It is partly an autobiographical travelogue and partly a history of all the colours of the rainbow. There are several useful maps and some stunning photographs - I suppose more would have put the price up too much. Because she covers so many colours there is a tendency sometimes to feel 'I wish she had gone more deeply into that,' but the excellent bibliography and end-notes will enable me to research further into those areas. This should be in all art department libraries and on the bookshelves of all art students who can afford it. If I hadn't bought it already it would be top of my Christmas list.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fabulous, 19 Jan 2005
By 
Christina Bravo (Lisbon, Portugal) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox (Paperback)
This book was the beginning of a travel of my own. The book takes us around the world discovering the origins of the pigments of all the colours in the rainbow. Combining historical facts, trivia stories and interesting people Victoria Finlay takes us on a journey that we do not wish to end! I am currently reading it for the second time and it has been a strong basis (both in terms of info and bibliography) for my thesis about the theory of colour in Portuguese Modernism.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A jewel of a book! A must for all artistic enquiring minds., 10 July 2003
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This review is from: Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox (Paperback)
If you have any artistic ability however small and are in possession of a paint box no-one could fail to love reading this delightful book, Victoria Finlays quest to find the origins of colours leads her all over the world and in the process she ferrets around and comes up with anecdotes that make you chuckle out loud or cringe in disgust !!!Her vivid description of extracting crimson from squashed living beetles is on a par with Bram Stoker! She brings many of the old Masters to life as she discribes their anxiety to find paints that will out last the ravages of time and indeed if Turner had listened to his 'colour' masters many of his paintings would have been even more spectacular. One almost becomes addicted to the chapters as she embellishes and embraces the colour and then tantilizingly moves onto the next !!! This a book I will cherish and re-read many times.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendously beautiful, 29 Jan 2004
By 
Carla Sofia (Lisbon, portugal) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox (Paperback)
When you take things for granted you usually do not understand their importance and beauty. This happens with colours. Victoria Finlay's book invites us to look at our surrounding world with different eyes and teaches us to stare with fascination at colours. It is a beautiful book that takes us on a journey around the world, allowing us to meet extremely interesting people that have so much to tell on something as beautiful as colours. When you finish reading it, you wish the rainbow had not only 7, but hundreds of colours!!! A must read for curious minds....
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gobsmacking, 7 Aug 2005
By A Customer
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This review is from: Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox (Paperback)
This is truely amazing - always fascinated by colour, but never, ever would I have guessed at the amazing stories behind them. So many unrelated puzzling trivials have been answered in this book, the old masters can be seen in a new light, even to an art heathen, the fact that the paintings have survived this long is indeed a feat of outstanding wonder, given the careful chemistry and make up of the materials they had to work with. A truely amazing, fascinating historical book, beautifully written, and I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to read it.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real find for travel & art enthusiasts, 20 Dec 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox (Paperback)
Victoria Finlay comes from a background both as an arts journatist and also someone who has lived and worked abroad. This broad view shines through.
It is really a collection of stories, linked by the quest for colour. It is a rich and rewarding read, and one that is both absorbing. Yet as the stories of the individual colours and pigments are revealed and are amazingly potent, the book can also be taken in bite sized chunks - ideal for those, who like me, do much of their reading while commuting.
So, if you love William Dalrymple, are an art student, or just want to find out how lucky we are to live in a multi-coloured world, I stongly recommend this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, but Beware, 14 Oct 2009
This review is from: Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox (Paperback)
A truly excellent book all round with wonderful anecdotes. A must for anyone interested in colour, dyeing or painting. The book would be improved with more pictures but still it is a clearly a labour of love for the author. Check out the extensive bibliography - this is extensively researched (one of the great measures of non-fiction) and the notes are really worth reading too. One warning; I bought (through Amazon) the 2004 paperback published by Random House. 31 pages of chapter 10 were completely missing and the rubric (first letter on page one) of chapters 1 and 2 were missing... I suspect the print run was flawed and should have been spotted by Random House's proof readers. Imagine - the first letter of the first word of the first chapter is missing....Hmmmmm.... Amazon was great and offered a refund... no criticism of Amazon is intended but be aware... my copy was the American version "Color - A Natural History of the Palette"
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic journey and a perfect guide, 25 April 2007
This review is from: Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox (Paperback)
This is on my list of all time favourite books. I studied textile design and love old fabric, murals, paintings and stained glass. Colours have always had power to alter my mood and have greatly enhanced my life.

As always, something which we in todays modern world take for granted has much deeper meaning which we should all be aware of.

Most children think of colour as precious, and in this book Victoria proves that they are right, it has always been highly prized and has a magical and stunning history. I had long wondered where colour came from and she takes us along with her on her journey to uncover the secret.

She is a good tour guide and her own wonder shines through. A beautiful book for anyone who enjoys colour and art. Buy it for yourself and give it as a gift!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A colourful read, 23 July 2003
By 
M. Wong "MadWitch" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox (Paperback)
We see colour everywhere and it never occured to me to think about how paints and dyes were made. It was not even something I was concerned about. But in reading the backcover, I was drawn by the writer's single-minded quest to find out how people made colour before we had synthetically produced paints.
She takes us from the "non-colours" of black & white and through the spectrum of the rainbow, the seven colours of which - Mr Roy G Biv - were defined by Isaac Newton. I was surprised to find that Newton's definition was actually his own interpretation of what he decided should be 7 shades, ie had he wished, he could have insisted on turquoise (between green & blue) instead of indigo (between blue & purple).
I was amazed to find out that red comes from a cochineal bug which feeds on the prickly pear cactus, green from copper dipped in vinegar, and purple from the tears of a sea-snail.
And then there are there are the fascinating bits of trivia. Perhaps Napolean died not from cancer but from a reaction between arsenic and the damp in the green in his wallpaper.
There are many many more bits like this, but I won't spoil it for other readers. I picked up this book on spec, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox
Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay (Paperback - 26 May 2003)
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