This is a visual feast. Its presentation is very much in the mould of cookery porn (if we can call it that) – sumptuous illustrations that make you want to rub your face in the plate and absorb the delicious goodness before you. Information is there, but presented in a narrative form rather than simple step-by-step instructions (in the case of cookery) or bald scientific facts (in the case of colour).
Most artists would benefit from at least a little information about what’s happening on their palette, but the chemistry of it all is probably beyond them and certainly more than they need. If you do want that, Ralph Meyer’s authoritative Handbook of Art Materials and Techniques is there for you.
If the mere thought of that makes your eyes glaze over, help is at hand in the form of this book. You are, as I’ve already hinted, going to love looking at it, but there’s also a potted account of history, properties and uses that won’t leave you wanting less. Is Cochineal really made of blood? Did you know that Cobalt was named after a malicious goblin? Did you ever feel the need to? Probably not, but it all adds to the rich pageant presented here and the sense of fun, of finding out about things just for the sheer pleasure of it.
Am I going to list all the things the book could tell you? Hell no, of course I’m not. A mere list of useful information would be boring and this is emphatically not that. Sit down, tuck in your napkin and fill your boots (yes, I am mixing metaphors, what of it?). I said this was a feast, didn’t I?
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