T H E  S E C R E T  L I V E S  O F  C O L O U R


A mind-expanding tour of the world without leaving your paintbox (SIMON GARFIELD)

Companionable, informative… A light and lively guide to sights so easily taken for granted (THE ECONOMIST)

Well-researched and engaging (HOUSE & GARDEN)


From pink boys’ clothes to blue warpaint; why orange spells danger and other colourful tales (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Inspiring, compelling and beautifully designed . . . this will appeal to anyone (THE LADY)

‘The Secret Lives of Colour’ tells the stories of 75 unusual colours, from amber to absinthe, puce to pitch black, and from shocking pink to acid yellow.

Initially inspired by the fanciful descriptions I came across while researching a dissertation on eighteenth-century masquerade costumes at Oxford, my fascination with pigments, dyes and hues, both beloved and obscure, blossomed into an obsession with the history of colour. After three years as a columnist for Elle Decoration, I finally got the opportunity to write this book. Across fashion and politics, art and war, it tells a vivid story of our culture. 

For more insight into what you will find between the covers, you can listen to me talk to Monocle 24 about three colourful histories here.

‘The Secret Lives of Colour’ was published in the UK by John Murray and in America by Penguin. It has been translated into Spanish, German, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Dutch and Romanian.

For more colourful stories, news and book signings, you can follow the book on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter or visit the events page.

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Research has begun on books two and three. Watch this space.