In Lovely Blueness: Adventures in Troubled Light

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In 2004 Colm Toibin curated an exhibition at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin called 'Blue' which consisted of blue objects from the collection. This is his introduction to the catalogue.

The world was a bowl of lovely soft blueness. It was early morning in Port Douglas in Queensland in Northern Australia. As the boat began to move out towards the Great Barrier Reef there was not a cloud in the sky nor a vessel in the sea. A haze of heat over the water made the sky above us seem the only solid thing on earth in its vast clarity, its implacable and untouchable beauty. The water was calm; in the distance patches of deep dark blue lay as though part of a recent spillage of blue, too severe and dangerous and stark in its rich colour to be integrated into the glassy limpid blueness of the broad sea.
Some days earlier a boat like this, full of tourists also, had set out on the same mission - to travel for two hours to the reef for scuba diving, snorkelling, swimming. When the time to return had come, the crew asked if everyone was on board and, when they were satisfied that this was so, they started the engine and returned to Port Douglas. But everyone was not on board. Two expert scuba divers had known how to spare the oxygen and thus have more time wandering in the blue depths. They were still down there in the ocean. The boat had left without them and the crew realised this only when their belongings were not collected. They would have surfaced to find the great nothingness all round them, green-blue water, the clear blue sky, dark blue patches on the sea. And no chance of making it to dry land. And sharks below them waiting. They were not seen again.
This morning before we left the shore we were warned to sign our name which we would countersign before the boat returned. All of us promised that we would. We meant it. The previous day I had met the scuba diving instructor who maintained that he normally went down towards the ocean bed with a large group. This time he had only three, including an Austrian who was skilled and experienced. So with us two, who knew nothing, it would be easy, he said. One on either side of him. Just follow the rules. He went through them with us again - how to breathe, how to wipe the condensation from your goggles, how to signal. No one in all his years as an instructor, he said, had ever died down there. It would be safe and easy, and it was so beautiful down there, it would be worth it.
We wallowed for two hours in lovely blueness, the blueness of paradise, all liquid and light and easy on the soul, balm on the eyes against the harshness of the sun. After two hours when the boat stopped, my fellow passengers turned into athletes, busy changing and preparing for the ordeal of scuba diving, snorkelling and diving overboard into the blue unknown. I was handed an iron lung and I put it on and got my goggles and all the other strange instruments familiar to voyagers into the deep. The instructor was waiting. He pointed. There were steps down into the ocean. We had to walk backwards down them into that dark underspace, immerse ourselves in what suddenly seemed to me a most inhospitable and hostile element.
Others were diving in, fearless. I stood back and shook my head. I had paid for this and prepared for it, but the journey down towards this watery Hades was too much. I let the others go without me. The instructor shook his head sadly. It happens sometimes, he said, irrational fear, but it is always a pity. He left me some snorkelling gear.
When no one was watching I lowered myself into the calm ocean. The snorkel hurt my nose and the goggles kept misting over. But I swam out and put my head down nonetheless, knowing that I was missing the real world down there, yards and yards down there, where I could be now, if only I was brave. Suddenly, I stopped thinking and gave up feling sorry for myself. Suddenly, I was looking down at the most astonishing set of colours. At first it was as though some of the great colourists had been down here before me: Yves Klein clearly had painted that plant his signature blue; surely Sam Francis had been here to paint a school of fish a most artificial set of bright blue stripes; certainly Titian himself had descended with brush in hand to paint the coral a great bright blue.
I came up for air, and removed the snokel, then I just held my nose and opened my eyes and looked down for as long as I could. There were no words for the variety of blues that were down there, the coral itself, the plant life and the fish that came and went in a choreography of indigo, ink blue, deep blue, Prussian blue, turquoise and many other shades of blue which seemed to take their colour from culture rather than nature. Nothing in nature could be that blue.
For an hour as the others sampled the blue panic of the deep, I skimmed the surface. So much of nature’s blue is reflection. It is easy to imagine that the sea is blue because the sky is blue, just as the sea is gun-metal blue when the sky is overcast. These colours at the Great Barrier Reef, on the other hand, just under the surface, were reflections of nothing, they were livid with brightness, more stunning in their vivid presence than anything above the water in the natural universe. No photograph could do justice to this beauty and no memory can capture its suddeness, its absolute urgency, the fresh coldness of its statement. When they came back, my companions said they had been invigorated by their journey down. I smiled and said that it had been interesting in the real world too. We signed our names to prove we were not still down there and then we returned to the banality of the shore.

Blue comes to us through silence and mystery and much argument. The word we use to describe blueness was not in every language, or arrived later than words for white and black, red and yellow and green. In ancient Greek, as far as we can make out, the word for black may have been the same as the word for blue. In modern Catalan the word for blue (blau; blava in the feminine) is the same as the word for bruise, deriving from the Latin word for bruise, blavus. No one now believes that Roman and Greek eyes were too primitive to see the colour blue, but it was not an essential term in the lexicography of colour and, with the exception of work in mosaic and in some illustration, it was not used as one of the central colours in Greek or Roman art.
No one believes either that colour itself was not important in the ancient world and that complex terms for colour were not abundant. When they were needed, the words were invented. Colours of horses, for example, came in rich diversity. Writers in Latin in the fifth and seventh centuries listed thirteen horse-colours, ‘some of which are rare and highly specialised terms,’ according to John Gage in ‘Colour and Culture’. (1) Byzantine Greek offered eleven terms. An Arab-Latin glossary offered eight and a Spanish thirteen century treatise on horses fourteen different words for the colour of horses. While terms for colour could be plentiful, they could also be entirely missing. The absence of a word for brown is characteristic of many languages. ‘I have found no word for brown in several Australian, Melanesian and Polynesian languages, in Tamil, Eskimo, Welsh and the Arabic of the Egyptian peasant,’ W.H. R. Rivers has written. ‘There appears to have been no word in Homeric Greek which one can regard as the equivalent to brown…the same is true of the Greek spoken by the majority of the citizens of Cyprus at the present day.’ (2)
Blue mostly came from far away. Woad was made in the brutish north and frightened Julius Caesar (‘Omnes vero se Britanni vitro inficiunt, quod caeruleum efficit colorem, atque hoc horribiliores sunt in pugna aspectu’); indigo came from India; lapis lazuli from the east. Blue, for the most part, was distant and expensive and somehow, for the Greeks and the Romans, it was associated with barbarians, some of whom had blue eyes and others blue robes. The main colours in which the Greeks and Romans worked were black and white, red and yellow. In the late Middle Ages, red robes were the most expensive.
But there is always a problem about the translation of words for colour, because even in the Middle Ages texture and depth and tone, and indeed the method of producing a colour, may have mattered as much as finding a clear and single denomination for it. ‘The technical literature of the Middle Ages for the most part avoided an engagement with abstract colour terms and simply listed specific colorants,’ John Gage writes. ‘A number of late medieval texts do show an awareness of the problem of abstract colour classes but they too pass quickly to the discussion of pigments.’ (3) ‘The emphasis on colour intensity,’ Michel Pastoureau writes in ‘Blue’, ‘led medieval people to perceive colour very differently than we do now: for the dyer or painter, and for their clients and publics, heavily saturated colour was often seen (or imagined) as closer to another bright colour than it was to a weaker, less concentrated tone of the same colour.’ (4) Thus the abstract word for black in Latin may have at certain times included blue; the terms red or even yellow may not have had the clear and single meaning which we now give to them. And words which denoted blue changed their meaning over centuries. ‘The saphirus of the ancients and of the early Middle Ages was not our sapphire (blue corundum),’ John Gages writes, ‘but lapis lazuli, which continued to be one interpretation of the word until well into the middle of the thirteen century.’ (5)
In tenth century Spain purpura was a silk cloth rather than a colour and continued with its early meaning in Europe until the Renaissance; the term ‘scarlet’ first appeared in the German-speaking world in the eleventh century to mean a woollen fabric, but two centuries later the word had come to mean a version of red. The term sinople, which once meant red, later came to denote green. So, too, with the word perse which went out of use in the sixteenth century. The OED defines it thus: ‘In early writers, Blue, bluish, bluish-grey; in later writers often taken (after Italian) as a dark obscure blue or purplish black; also as name of the colour or stuff of the colour.’ But in the middle of the sixteenth century, according to John Gage, it was also used to signify the colour we might call rust. (6) It may have been a term for a type of cloth which was associated with blue and came, at certain times, to mean blue, but it is very difficult to interpret. Gage also writes that ‘the structure of colour-terminology in Arabic was very similar to that of the European languages of the Middle Ages, with an emphasis on light and dark and a relative imprecision in the discrimination of hues.’ (7)
Nor did colours have fixed symbolic meanings which were generally understood by each citizen of the medieval world. Symbolic meaning was protean, fluid and ambiguous. A colour or an aspect of nature could symbolise opposing things. A lion could symbolise the devil for its ferocity and in its bravery and strength could be Christ; the regal purple colour of Christ’s robes could be close to the scarlet of sin.
The absence of blue as a central colour in certain cultures at certain times and its subsequent rise in popularity and use have never been fully or convincingly explained. In ‘The Primary Colours’, Alexander Theroux writes: ‘In the Bible, although there are over four hundred references to the sky or haven, the colour blue is not once named.’ (8) In one of the earliest theories of colour, Empedocles (492-431 BC) identified four primary colours as white, black, red and yellowish-green. Blue is absent. Plato (428-347 BC) also admitted four main colours and excluded blue. Aristotle (384-322 BC) took the view that there were only two colours - black and white - and everything else was obtained by mixing these two colours. (9) Both Plato and Aristotle were uneasy about the idea of colour itself in art. Aristotle wrote in the Poetics that ‘the chalk outline of a portrait will give more pleasure than the most beautiful colours laid on confusedly’. (10) Command of line was more important in Greek art than use of colour. Indeed, the view was taken that the addition of colour could be left to the master’s assistant. Colour was interference with nature rather than depiction to it. Its use or abuse became a moral issue not only after the Reformation, but among Greek and Roman writers too. Plotinus saw colour as a way of conquering darkness 'by the pouring-in of light’ (11) Pliny took the view that with merely four colours - black, white, red and yellow - works of genius were made, but that with the introduction of more colours, including what India contributed, he wrote, ‘from the ooze of her rivers’ - meaning Indigo - ‘we are alive only to the worth of the materials and not to the genius of the artist’. (12) Later writers, however, began to extol colour in all its glory. In the ninth century Photius wrote of the mosaic-filled interior of the Palace Chapel in the church of the Virgin of Pharos: ‘It is as if one had entered heaven itself with no one barring the way from any side, and was illuminated by the beauty in all forms shining around like so many stars.’ (13) Nonethless, for both Western and Arabic writers, colour was subservient to light. Boethius said that colour was an accident. Scholars such as Averroes made light a far more important structural concept than colour, believing that the colours of art were finite while the colours of nature infinite. These theories of colour and light would lead to Goethe’s most beautiful phrase: ‘Colour is troubled light.’
If colour were troubled light, then black and white were the easiest to calm; they were in Greek and Roman times basic colours, but blue remained the most unruly, contantly absent without leave. In examples of Greek painting, John Gage writes, ‘the absence of blue on the palette attributed to the four-colour artists continues to be a serious problem’. (14) When Aulus Gellius in the second century AD wrote about colour terms, he made no reference at all to blue. When writing about the rainbow, ‘no ancient author mentions the colour blue,’ Michel Pastoureau writes in ‘Blue’. ‘For both the Greeks and the Romans, there was no blue in the rainbow. Xenophanes and Anaximenes and later Lucretius mention only red, yellow and violet; Seneca purple, violet, green, orange and red; Ammianus Marcellinus, purple, violet, green, orange, yellow, and red.’ (15) Aristotle wrote: ‘If the principles we laid down about the appearance of colour are true, the rainbow necessarily has three colours, and these three and no others.’ (16) Blue was not one of these colours. When the thirteenth century writer Roger Bacon created a scale of colour using Latin words, towards the end he listed venetius, which may between blue and black or may be yellow, and lazulus, which is lapis lazuli. He listed no direct colour for blue. Just as there is no blue in Homer, blue had no presence in Arthurian literature.
In the thirteenth century, Pope Innocent 111 addressed the role of colour in the liturgy and declared white, black, red the principal colours, with violet, green and yellow the colours which could also be used. He said nothing about blue, which is still to this day not used in a Catholic priest’s vestments. Before the fifteenth century, Michel Pastoureau writes, ‘not a single collection of recipes for colour production - either for dyeing or for painting - explains the green that is obtained by combining blue and yellow.’(17) Green was prepared using other methods.
However, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries blue became more common in western art, greatly helped by work in stained glass depicting the Virgin’s robes, which had been made mostly in darker colours up to then; blue quickly became various in its shades and acquired many nuances. (In his book ‘The Art of Cezanne’, Kurt Badt identifies an exceptional use of blue as a central colour in an Italian painting: ‘It is possible that in a picture of the Virgin in the Basilica of San Clemente (middle of the ninth century) we have the first isolated example of a composition built around blue. In this picture, the Mother of God is seen clothed entirely in blue robes.’ (18))
‘With a new social order,’ Michel Pastoureau writes, ‘came a new order of colours.’ (19) In European coats of arms, for example, blue appears five per cent of the time in 1200, fifteen per cent in 1250 and thirty per cent in 1300. The King of France began to wear blue. Part of the reason for the growth in blue’s popularity was progress in France and England in the cultivation of woad and improvement in dyeing techniques. ‘In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries,’ Michel Pastoureau writes, ‘blue at long last became a first-rate beautiful colour - the colour of Mary and royalty, and thus the rival of red. During the following four or five hundred years, these two colours shared the preeminent position over all others and in many spheres formed a partnership of contrast: red versus blue meant the festive versus the moral, the material versus the spiritual, the near versus the far, the masculine versus the feminine.’ (20) By the late fourteenth century the French poet Guillaume de Machaut could write: ‘He who would rightly judge colours and pronounce their true meaning, must place before all others beautiful blue.’ (21) A century later, map makers began to make water blue instead of green.
The popularity of blue, especially in its darker manifestations, was greatly helped by the Protestant and Calvinist distrust of colour. The darker shades of blue became associated with austerity and morality; later during the French Revolution blue became associated with soldiers fighting for the Republic and later for France (the Catholic and royal forces used white banners). By 1848, however, blue was replaced by red and slowly became the colour of the centre and then of the right.
As scientists and philosophers worked on theories of colour in the eighteenth century, blue became increasingly important. ‘Far from being a marginal colour, as it had been in ancient and medieval colour systems,’ Pastoureau writes, ‘blue now became central to new chromatic classifications spawned by the Newtonian revolution.’ (22) Also, blue clothes, even light blue, became fashionable. This was, Pastoureau writes, ‘confirmed and indeed amplified by an increase in the number of words for shades of blue in many languages.’ (23) The American novelist William Gass in his ‘On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry’ lists some of these words in English: ‘For our blues we have the azures and ceruleans, lapis lazuli, the light and dusty, the powder blues, the deeps: royal, sapphire, navy and marine; there are the pavonian or peacock blues, the reddish blues: damson, madder and cadet, hyacinth, periwinkle, wine wisteria and mulberry; there are the sloe blues, a bit purpled or violescent, and then the green blues, too: robin’s egg and eggshell blue, beryl, cobalt, glaucous blue, jouvence, turquoise, aquamarine…For our blues we have those named for nations, cities, regions: French blue, which is an artificial untramarine, Italian, Prussian, Swiss and Brunswick blue, Chinese blue, a pigment which has a peculiar reddish bronze cast when in lump-form and dry, in contrast to China blue which is a simple soluble dye; we have Indian blue, an indigo, Hungarian, a cobalt, the blues of Parma and Saxony. Paris, Berlin and Dresden, those of Bremen and Antwerp, the ancient blues of Armenia and Alexandria…’ (24)
Writers relished blue. Proust’s housekeeper remembered that the most striking thing in his room, apart from the cork was the colour blue. Colette and Dumas pere loved writing on blue paper. Oscar Wilde collected Blue Willow china. Alexander Theroux vies with William Gass in his efforts to list the blues: ‘There are many more blues than there are words to name them. There is smalt. Tenebristic blue. Plumbago blue has a delicate red tone to it. Phtalo, a cyanine blue, is also known in the Dutch pigment trade as Rembrandt blue. Neuwied blue is a lime blue sold in drop pigment form. And then there is a whole order of undertones. Cerulean blue. Manganese. Prussian blue…’(25) In Richard Flanagan’s novel ‘Gould’s Book of Fish’, Gould writes: ‘Blue speaks of the morning, of the sky & of the sea. Yet as the fish with their cross-weaving of colour had taught me, contained in every colour is its opposite, & blue is also the colour of sorrow & anguish & lewdness.’ (26) Albinus in Nabokov’s ‘Laughter in the Dark’ had this to say about blue: ‘I must keep quiet for a little space and then walk very slowly along that bright sound of pain, towards that blue, blue wave. What bliss there is in blueness. I never knew how blue blueness could be.’ (27) In ‘On the Spiritual in Art’, Kandinsky wrote: ‘The deeper blue becomes the more urgently it summons man towards the infinite, the more it arouses in him a longing for purity and, ultimately, for the supersensual.’ (28) In her book ‘The Listening God’ Sr Miriam Pollard wrote: ‘I used to wonder why the sea was blue at a distance and green close up and colourless for that matter in your hands. A lot of life is like that. A lot of life is just a matter of learning to like blue.’ (29)
Part of the appeal of blue was its ambiguous beauty, its various shades, its restless nuances, its strange origin and development. Blue was the banished orphan who lived to take the throne. Goethe remained puzzled and fascinated by the colour which, he wrote, ‘has a peculiar and almost indescribable effect on the eye. As a hue it is powerful, but it is on the negative side, and in its highest purity is, as it were, a stimulating negation. Its appearance, then, is a contradiction between excitement and repose.’ Blue, for Goethe, was the colour of distance. ‘As the upper sky and distant mountains appear blue, so a blue surface seems to retire from us…But as we readily follow an agreeable object that flies from us, so we love to contemplate blue, not because it advances to us, but because it draws after us.’ And of sadness: ‘The appearance of objects seen through a blue glass is gloomy and melancholy.’(30)
The mystique of blue, and its allure, in Europe from the thirteen century onwards arose from its exotic origins. Blue colours were revered in ancient Egypt; evidence of the use of indigo dyes in the east exists from as early as the second century BC. David Bomford and Ashok Roy write in ‘Colour’ about the use of blue in thirteen century Italy: ‘Foremost in quality and reputation was the beautiful brilliant pure blue of genuine ultramarine, a mineral pigment extracted from the semi-precious stone, lapis lazuli…Its striking colour and great permanence in most media guaranteed its desirability; however, its cost was very high, since until the nineteenth century it had to be imported into Europe from its only known source - the famous mines at Sar-I-Sang in Afghanistan.’(31) It was more expensive than pure gold and contracts for commissions in Italy specified that the painter use genuine ultramarine, sometimes providing for separate payment to cover the high cost of the pigment. (32) In ‘The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting’, Daniel V. Thompson has written that to ‘exhibit this beautiful and costly colour in conjunction with metallic gold was to reach the peak of highest elegance in appearance, in associations and in intrinsic worth.’ (33)
The commercial battle between woad, manufactured mainly in Northern Europe, and indigo, ‘was fierce and prolonged, in some places lasting well into the eighteenth century,’ according to Jenny Balfour-Paul in her book ‘Indigo’. (34) The indigo plant was grown in India and the east; from the ninth century it was cultivated in the Arab world and was a major crop in the Jordan valley until the nineteenth century. (35) ‘Indigo could produce a blue that was ten times darker than that of woad,’ Pastoureau writes, ‘but it cost thirty to forty times as much. Indigo was available in Venice by the twelfth century and it appeared in London, Marseilles, Genoa and Bruges in the thirteenth century.’ (36) Vasco de Gama’s circumnavigation of the Cape of Good Hope in 1498, however, meant that indigo could be imported directly by sea. ‘In France,’ Balfour-Paul writes, ‘the landowning plutocracy of Languedoc had gown fat on woad profits and had little difficulty persuading the government, which gained much tax revenue from woad, to ban the import of indigo in 1598. Eleven years later the king issued a draconian edict which actually sentenced to death anyone found using “the deceitful and injurious dye called inde (ital)”.’ (37) The edict was necessary because the superiority of indigo as a dye over woad was by then generally recognised. Once a better quality indigo was discovered in the new world, mainly the West Indies, Mexico and South America, much cheaper indigo arrived in Europe, its cultivation depending heavily on slavery (‘Not a chest of indigo reached England without being stained with human blood,’ one commentator said in 1848 (37)). Woad began a terminal decline, which indigo would suffer in turn in 1878 when a synthetic version began to be manufactured in Europe. (39)
Europe produced its own blue called azurite, less powerful and beautiful than lapiz lazuli, blue with a greenish turquoise tinge; this went out of use in the seventeenth century. In 1704, the real victory of blue was technically established in the invention of a synthetic pigment called Prussian blue; this had a very powerful intense deep colour which became generally available by 1720. In 1803 cobalt blue was invented and in 1828 a synthetic version of ultramarine. (40) This meant that nineteenth century painters had a vast arsenal of blues cheaply at their disposal. Blue, which had been much loved and easily available in the east, was now ready to take over in the west. Thus we could begin to study, collect and appreciate work from the east which had so gloriously used the colour we had been missing for more than a thousand years.

The city curves. It curves so much that we only notice it when there is a long perspective; if you turn, for example, from Holles Street into Merrion Square and then up towards Baggot Street along the Georgian Mile. Then you see the city in its clear air, the unoccluded horizon. I walk every day to the Chester Beatty Library through the old curved city from Pembroke Street along Leeson Street across St Stephen’s Green, along South King Street and Drury Street, crossing Aungier Street, and then turning right into Ship Street and right again into the yard of Dublin Castle.
Watching the turns of streetscape offers a strange, funny pleasure; the eye longs for things to curve and turn, hardly conscious of the longing. Walking the streets of Dublin brings with it an aimless, almost a nostalgic happiness, turning down side-streets, following the traces and tracks what must have been the shape of an earlier city, which is underground now, like a song whose words are lost but whose tune remains.
So it is with blue. I find that I am looking forward to wandering aimlessly in the main galleries of the Chester Beatty, not studying the history of the pieces on display or the cultures from which they emerged, but looking at the blues for their colour alone in all its stunning variety, in all its sharp beauty. I do not know then that blue has a gnarled history, that it came to the west strangely and late in the day, that it has been, in at least two of its manifestations, part of the great exotic export from the east, a wonderful and enduring aspect of the spice trade.
The slides of the collection tell one story; sometimes a shade of blue as captured by the photographer is ravishing, or the image itself is beautiful beyond belief; other times the slides offer mere hints of what lies stored in the basement, one of the greatest treasure troves in this country. I am waiting for the day when the numbers I have listed will appear in the flesh, will be brought up from the basement which they are so tenderly preserved.
They are all now on the table, some of them held in wooden boxes, specially made for them, or in beautiful bindings. Painters everywhere loved wings; the pleasure of drawing them, a symbol of the soaring and inspired imagination, the soul in flight, must have been intense. We look at studies of Islamic angels, Christian angels, Japanese birds, western birds. Some painters loved the straight lines of architecture and buildings; others the curve of calligraphy and of the human body, the human face. There is real pleasure now in putting the Chinese beside the Italian, the Japanese beside the Islamic, the Armenian beside the English.
What separated these workers in art was greater than what united them. The imagination at work is always alone; no matter how strong a tradition or sense of community. The mind making images does so singly, in moments of fierce concentration, suddenly, as though this had never been done before, as though the task of now were the only task there ever would be.
What unites these works from so many different cultures is the collector’s eye. And they are united too for us looking at them, knowing that this colour, this lovely blueness, used in all of them, does not come from on high but rather it comes from history, it was developed by trade and commerce, including the slave trade. What seems miraculous and timeless was shaped by complex human forces. This idea makes the works seem almost defenceless as they wallow and indulge themselves in troubled light, alert to their own beauty and fragility and strange heritage. They are in time and out of time as the enfolding shadows grow around them in the old city.

(1) John Gage, Colour and Culture: Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction (London 1993), p35
(2) Quoted in Basic Color Terms, Berlin and Kay, (Berkeley, 1999), p27
(3) Gage p36
(4) Michel Pastoureau, Blue: The History of Color (Princeton, 2002) p75
(5) Gage p73
(6) Ibid p80
(7) Ibid p64
(8) Alexander Theroux, The Primary Colours (London, 1995) p 22
(9) K.T.A. Halbertsma, A History of the Theory of Colour (Amsterdam, 1949) p7
(10) Quoted Gage p15
(11) Pastoureau p26
(12) Quoted in Gage p29
(13) Gage p44
(14) Ibid p30
(15) Ibid p31
(16) Carl B. Boyer, The Rainbow: From Myth to Mathematics (Princeton, 1987) pp48-49
(17) Pastoureau p72
(18) Quoted in Theroux p44
(19) Pastoureau p83
(20) Ibid p123
(21) Quoted in Pastoureau p80
(22) Pastoureau p124
(23) Ibid p134
(24) William Gass, On Being Blue: A Philosophical Enquiry, (Manchester, 1979) p59
(25) Theroux, p 33
(26) Richard Flanagan, Gould’s Book of Fish,(London, 2002) p298
(27) Quoted in Theroux p 49
(28) Quoted in Theroux p 64
(29) Quoted in Theroux p16
(30) Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Theory of Colours (London, 1840) pp 310-311
(31) Bomford and Roy, Colour, (London, 2000), pp 25-26
(32) Bomford, Dunkerton, Gordon, Roy, Italian Painting Before 1400 (London, 1989) p 35
(33) Daniel V. Thompson, The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting (New York, 1956) p 148
(34) Jenny Balfour-Paul, Indigo, (London, 1998), p 55
(35) Ibid p 28
(36) Pastoureau, p126
(37) Ibid p 56
(38) Quoted in Balfour-Paul p 41
(39) Balfour-Paul p131
(40) Bomford and Roy p 30

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