Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Purple Reign

[Credits follow below]

School colors akin to harsh magic-marker purple next to sterile white briefly turned me off darker plums but now I appreciate the entire range -- especially purples paired with greens (see Sebastian Siraudeau's book at top).  Issue 45 of Selvedge has a fascinating story about English chemist William Perkin, the man whose serendipitous discovery of a certain arresting shade reshaped Victorian fashion, and the article inspired my mix above. 

[Book image via Faber & Faber]

Collage credits clockwise from the top left:

C. F. A. Voysey wallpaper, The Galahad, 1899, the V & A.

Bright purple silk furnishing fringe, Victorian, the V & A British Galleries.

Reeves and Woodyer paint bottles, 'Ackermann's brilliant carmine,' 'W H Edwards's lilac purple,' and 'W H Edwards's sunflower yellow,' circa 1814, the V & A.

John Robshaw linen picture frame and Paro pillow.

Purple-silk-lined 1879 shagreen cigarette case by Girandon & Real, the V & A.

African beads from Ann Mashburn.

Menu for Omega Workshops opening night dinner, June 1913, pencil and watercolor on paper, attributed to Vanessa Bell or Duncan Grant, Tate archives, image is from  Beyond Bloomsbury: Designs of the Omega Workshops 1913–19.


Tokyo Jinja said...

My favorite color when the shade is right - and love it with green. Or beach house came painted a few dusty shades of green, but with a horrible rust colored front door. I just painted it the deepest plum this past summer and it looks great!

Elsbeth said...

Thank you so much for directing the attention to William Perkin! Years ago I was sad to have missed a lecture on mauve at the National Gallery but this makes up for it a bit :)
Loving the Omega menu card.

Style Court said...

Jacqueline, with your appreciation for Victorian aesthetics, I can definitely see you having a passion for certain purple shades!

Style Court said...


Happy to help make the connection! The book should be a great addition to a library focused on color -- science really, too.

Yes, that menu design deserves more attention :)

Janet said...

It is amazing how one shade of color can have such an impact on style, fashion, and economics!