23 February, 2021, 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

A history of pigments: from cave paintings to the present day

Pigments have been used for thousands of years to bring colour to our world. This talk will describe some of the earliest pigments known, curious methods of making pigments in ancient times and the development of synthetic pigments from the 1700s to the present day. Examples of art from the Renaissance to the Impressionists, and the pigments used by these artists will be described. The development of pigments for high-tech applications will also be mentioned.

Dr Christine Holdstock taught Colour Science at the University of Leeds for over 20 years. Before joining the University staff, she worked at WIRA (the Wool Industries Research Association in Headingley) where she obtained a PhD from the University of Leeds on the control of the dyeing process.

Last year she gave a talk to the Society on the history of dyes (i.e. soluble compounds used to colour textiles). This is a companion lecture on pigments – insoluble colouring agents, particularly those used in paints. In this talk she will describe the progression from ancient pigments found in prehistoric cave paintings, to the tombs of the Pharaohs, the wonders of renaissance art, and the advent of modern synthetic pigments.