Kevin Jackson – Daffodils & Telephone Directories
This is the fifth major work on the history of colours written over the last two decades by the eminent French scholar Michel Pastoureau, and, he implies in his introduction, it may be the last. Taken together, the earlier volumes on blue (2001), black (2009), green (2013) and red (2017), plus the new book, represent ‘an edifice’ that he has been working to build for half a century: a history of colours in (for the most part) Europe from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the 18th century and beyond. Whatever misgivings one might have about the books themselves, they amount to an ambitious project deserving not merely respect but even a touch of awe. There are very few comparable enterprises: Marc Shell’s dazzling polymathic work on the cultural history of money is a rare example.