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Publisher's Summary

The Secret Lives of Colour tells the unusual stories of the 75 most fascinating shades, dyes and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso's blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history. 

In this book Kassia St Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colours and where they come from (whether Van Gogh's chrome yellow sunflowers or punk's fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilisation. Across fashion and politics, art and war, The Secret Lives of Colour tell the vivid story of our culture.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2020 Kassia St Clair (P)2020 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A mind-expanding tour of the world without leaving your paintbox. Every colour has a story, and here are some of the most alluring, alarming, and thought-provoking. Very hard painting the hallway magnolia after this inspiring primer." (Simon Garfield) 

What listeners say about The Secret Lives of Colour

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  • WAP
  • 05-01-20

More a reference book

Pick any colour.... You will find its provenance here. Very well researched and delivered. With a good description of each colour. The short stories attached, gave each hue greater understanding.

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  • Charity Muzawazi
  • 08-21-20

Loved the book

Fascinating history of colour. I learnt sooo much!!! Highly recommended if you are an artist.

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  • Kimmi
  • 07-07-20

Incredibly informative, entertaining and beautifully read.

I loved this book. Fascinating stories about colours but in relation to art and culture. The only bad thing was that it wasn’t long enough. I hope there is another book with more stories.

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  • Michael Hoyle
  • 06-10-20

Really insightful

I really enjoyed hearing the history and origins of colours. It got a little repetitive after a while, but I listened to it all over just a few days.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-03-20

Could use a better narrator.

struggled to finish, I noticed that a lot of the info in this book was simply googled, word for word in some cases from Wikipedia. The narrator seemed to be trying too hard to speak in 'Queens English'.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-19-20

Secret Lives of Colour

I so enjoyed listening to this book! The world is now different after listening to this book. Looking at the objects around me, I am now wondering, why is it that colour? how did that colour get created? what makes up that colour? Colours are no longer just numbers, hex, or Red 0-255, blue 0-255, and Green 0-255, they are wavelengths, chemicals, accidents, religion and power.

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  • Hiro
  • 04-28-20

Highly recommended

I read the book first and found it very interesting. So, why an audiobook? The author’s voice and style of narration is very soothing to my ears. It’s very rare that I enjoyed both the book and audiobook. Thank you.