The Anatomy of Colour

The Story of Heritage Paints and Pigments


The definitive book on the use of paint and colour in interior decoration from the 1660s to the 1960s


ISBN: 9780500519332 Category:

Patrick Baty


The definitive book on the use of colour and paint in interior decoration over a three-hundred year period, The Anatomy of Colour is certain to appeal to both amateur and professional restorers, renovators, enthusiastic decorators and all those with an interest in interior decoration and design.

Drawing on his huge specialist archive, Patrick Baty traces the evolution of pigments and paint colours together with colour systems and standards, and examines their impact on the colour palettes used in interiors from the 1660s to the 1960s. He first charts the creation in paint of the common and expensive colours made from traditional earth pigments between 1650 to 1799. Next he examines the emergence of colour systems and standards and their influence on paint colours together with the effect of industrialized production on the texture and durability of paints. Finally, Baty turns his attention to 20th-century colour standards, including those developed originally for the purpose of identifying flowers, such as the RĂ©pertoire de Couleurs des Fleurs, des Feuillages et des Fruits, each incarnation of the British Colour Standard cards, Walpamur paint swatch cards and Parson’s Tint Book of Historical Colours.

Throughout the book reproductions of interiors highlighting the distinctive colour trends and styles of painting particular to each period and room accompany the in-depth analysis of the history of colour and the development and use of paint colours in interior design.

Additional information

Weight 1777 g
Dimensions 21.1 x 27.1 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 1 August 2017
Number of pages 352
Format Hardback
Dimensions 21.1 x 27.1 cm
Weight 1777 g


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Historian of architectural paint and colour Patrick Baty works as a consultant in the decoration of historic buildings and is proprietor of 'Papers and Paints' in London. He has been employed by Dulux and Little Greene to develop ranges of traditional paint colours for English Heritage, and he regularly lectures on the subject of paint and paint colour in 18th- and 19th-century interiors.