Celebrated novelist, biographer and critic Peter Ackroyd paints a vivid picture of one of the world’s greatest cities in this brilliant and original work, exploring how the city’s many hues have come to shape its history and identity.
Think of the colours of London and what do you imagine? The reds of open-top buses and terracotta bricks? The grey smog of Victorian industry, Portland stone and pigeons in Trafalgar square? Or the gradations of yellows, violets and blues that shimmer on the Thames at sunset – reflecting the incandescent light of a city that never truly goes dark?We associate green with royal parks and the District Line; gold with royal carriages, the Golden Lane Estate, and the tops of monuments and cathedrals.
Colours of London shows us that colour is everywhere in the city, and each one holds myriad links to its past. The colours of London have inspired artists (Whistler, Van Gogh, Turner, Monet), designers (Harry Beck) and social reformers (Charles Booth). And from the city’s first origins, Ackroyd shows how colour is always to be found at the heart of London’s history, from the blazing reds of the Great Fire of London to the blackouts of the Blitz to the bold colours of royal celebrations and vibrant street life.
This beautifully written book examines the city’s fascinating relationship with colour, alongside specially commissioned colourized photographs from Dynamichrome, which bring a lost London back to life.
London has been the main character in Ackroyd’s work ever since his first novel, and he has won countless prizes in both fiction and non-fiction for his truly remarkable body of work. Here, he channels a lifetime of knowledge of the great city, writing with clarity and passion about the hues and shades which have shaped London’s journey through history into the present day.
A truly invaluable book for lovers of art, history, photography or urban geography, this beautifully illustrated title tells a rich and fascinating story of the history of this great and ever-changing city.