by SimonGarfield (Author)


Mauve is the beguiling story of a man who invented a colour, and in the process transformed the world around him. Before 1856, artificial colour was derived with difficulty and at enormous expense from animals, minerals or plants. But in 1856 a chemist called William Perkin found a way of making colour from coal. Perkin found mauve by chance, at the age of 18, working on a treatment for malaria. Instead of artificial quinine he produced a dark oily sludge that, much to his surprise, turned silk a beautiful light purple. The colour was unique. It not only stormed the fashion houses of Paris and London, it earned Perkin a fortune and generated huge industries in the new science of applied chemistry. Perkin's astonishing discovery, engagingly told in Mauve, had fundamental effects on the development of explosives, perfume, photography and modern medicine - effects that colour everything we see today.


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More Information

Format: Paperback
Pages: 240
Edition: New edition
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Published: 03 Sep 2001

ISBN 10: 0571209173
ISBN 13: 9780571209170
Book Overview: Mauve by Simon Garfield is a wonderful biography of William Perkin, the man who invented a colour which took the fashion houses of Paris and London by storm - and also had fundamental effects on the development of explosives, perfume, photography and modern medicine.

Media Reviews
'This remarkable book about how the colour was discovered opened my eyes... Garfield's study is far more than a social history of fashion. It is a book about science which also happens to be a miniature work of art.' Daily Telegraph
Author Bio
Simon Garfield was born in 1960. He is the author of Expensive Habits: The Dark Side of the Industry, The End of Innocence: Britain in the Time of AIDS, which was awarded the Somerset Maugham Prize, The Wrestling, The Nation's Favourite: The True Adventures of Radio 1, Mauve, The Last Journey of William Huskisson, The Error World and the Mass Observation trilogy Our Hidden Lives, Private Battles and We Are At War. Mini: the True and Secret History of the Making of a Motor Car was published in 2009.