In May last year, I was asked by a graphic designer at a publishing house in USA who was working on a cover for a forthcoming book on the Phoenicians if he could use one of my images as part of the book cover. The image he wanted to use was one of the purple samples from my Colour Project. The Phoenicians were know for among other things, their trade in the famous purple dye from the Murex shell.
Purple dye is very rare in nature and was therefore only available to the wealthy and privileged. Tyrian Purple from the Murex shellfish was found in the Lebanon area of Tyre and extracted from the glands of the Murex shellfish. In 1685 William Cole described the sun sensitive colour process of the shellfish that gave purple dye/pigment. …if dye is placed in sun it changed colour – white (milk), light green, deep green, dull sea green, watched(blue), purplish re, deep purple red… It leaves a fishy garilcy smell – even centuries later it can determine where the fabric is from by the smell when it is rubbed.
I think this quote is from the excellent book Colour – Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Findlay. Unfortunately I didn’t record the source in my purple colour notes.
My sample was made by printing discharge paste through a thermofax screen on commercially dyed Dupion silk.
I am constantly surprised and delighted how Google allows us to find each other across the world.