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"One of our most versatile and gripping science writers." John Carey


Bright Earth cover - rreissued by Bodley Head in 2008 This book investigates how the invention of new pigments and colouring materials since times of antiquity have affected the course of Western art. The creative potential of painters has always been constrained by the colours on their palette. Renaissance and the emergence of Impressionism in the late nineteenth century, can be linked directly to the availability of new pigments.

Often neglected in studies of art history, the materials of the artist provide a new perspective on how art has evolved and how science, commerce, industry and art have interacted throughout the centuries.

Reissued by Bodley Head in 2008


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Bright Earth - USA cover



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