Elephant's Breath & London Smoke: Historical Colour Names, Definitions & Uses

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Deb Salisbury
Five Rivers Chapmanry, 2009 - Color in clothing - 304 pages
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Editor Deb Salisbury has perused fashion magazines, books of dye recipes, art books, painter's manuals, mineralogy guides, tomes on colour theory, metaphysical texts, poetry and fiction, but especially period dictionaries and encyclopaedias. Any resource that might give a hint on what a colour looked like or how it may have been used was fair game, from Chaucer to Chemistry Journals. This book will tell you about colour in history - the names of colours, when they were used, how they were used, what they looked like, and where they came from. There are dye recipes, paint ingredients, poetic language and general commentary - all in the words of period writers. You will learn about mourning colours, the effects of artificial light on colour, advice on what colours to wear, the colours found in cosmetics and theatrical make-up, and the names of the colours of horses. You can read about symbolism in colours, heraldic colours, and complaints about the names of colours. Most of the entries were printed in English, American, Canadian and Australian publications from around 1380 to 1922. Because, French was the language of fashion, many of the English terms are French words. Deb Salisbury has tried to explain those colours, too. This dictionary endeavours to define colour names in the words of the English speaking people who used those colours. It is especially aimed at women's fashion, but artists will also find it useful. If you are curious about colour, you will want this book!

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