What do the expressions “highbrow” and “lowbrow” have in common with saying a woman has “mousey” features? What does Homer Simpson have to do with photographs of sculpture in profile by contemporary artist Ken Gonzales-Day? All are contemporary manifestations of… More»
Mauve is the first modern synthetic dye, but its discovery in 1856 was not intentional.
Given the assignment to find a cure for malaria using coal tar, 18-year-old William Henry Perkins, a student at the Royal College of Chemistry, did not succeed in finding a revolutionary medicine, but instead noticed that he was left with a beautifully-colored residue.
Perkins would file his first patent for the color in 1857 and his coal tar dye would go on to become all the rage, even a color of choice for Queen Victoria.
Find out more about mauve and other early dyes and pigments in The Brilliant History of Color in Art!Mauve sample from The American Practical Dyer’s Companion, 1882, E. J. Bird. Getty Research Institute.