Book Review: The Colours of History, by Clive Gifford


This book is one of fascinating facts, telling of the influence of certain colours, pigments and dyes in the history of the world. It gives insight into twenty-four shades, sometimes telling how the colour was made and used, and at other times how famous people interacted with the colour.

Do you know why Roman Emperors wore purple, or who said,” Pink, being a more decided and stronger colour, is more suitable for the boy”? These and many more questions are covered in the sections concerning pink and purple.

The book is divided into broad colour sections and then further defined into various shades. The broader colours are yellows, reds, purples, blues and greens. Within these are facts about The White House in Washington DC, Vincent Van Gogh, the Statue of Liberty, the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, Madame Pompadour, Saint Patrick, Napoleon Bonaparte and more. The role of colour across time in deaths and burials is also discussed.

As engaging as it is, the choice of font and colour of text on some backgrounds can make several sections difficult to read. The language is simple and will be easily read by young people from the age of eight or nine, with little assistance needed. This factual book sets paragraphs in different positions on the page around very descriptive illustrations by Marc–Etienne Peintre.

Author Clive Gifford has won several awards for his works including the Royal Society Young Person’s Book Award 2014 and the School Library Information Book Award.

I have reread sections already and would recommend this to any young (or not so young) person with an interest in history or any field involving colour.

Reviewed by Leanne Caune

Rating out of 10:  9

Distributed by: Murdoch Books
Released: April 2018
RRP: $19.99


This book is one of fascinating facts. The language is simple and will be easily read by young people from the age of eight or nine.

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