The World According to Colour

The World According to Colour

A Cultural History


'Extraordinary. An intellectual feast as well as a visual one'
Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare with Amber Eyes

The world comes to us in colour. But colour lives as much in our imaginations as it does in our surroundings, as this scintillating book reveals. Each chapter immerses the reader in a single colour, drawing together stories from the histories of art and humanity to illuminate the meanings it has been given over the eras and around the globe. Showing how artists, scientists, writers, philosophers, explorers and inventors have both shaped and been shaped by these wonderfully myriad meanings, James Fox reveals how, through colour, we can better understand their cultures, as well as our own. Each colour offers a fresh perspective on a different epoch, and together they form a vivid, exhilarating history of the world. 'We have projected our hopes, anxieties and obsessions onto colour for thousands of years,' Fox writes. 'The history of colour, therefore, is also a history of humanity.'


  • A book to brighten the dullest days
    Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times (Books of the Year)

About the author

James Fox

James Fox is Director of Studies in History of Art at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and a BAFTA-nominated broadcaster. His many acclaimed BBC television documentaries include programmes about British art, Japanese culture and an enduringly popular history of colour in art.
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