Colour surrounds us and influences us everyday, everywhere. It is a powerful driver of emotion and how we experience our homes, and has been a sought after commodity for centuries. In this blog we explore some of the fascinating histories, cultural connotations of magenta, fuchsia and sepia.
Magenta and Fuchsia
Magenta and fuchsia, are colour names which are often used interchangeably, but these colours have quite different histories. According to Kassia St Clair in her book The Secret Lives of Colour, the origins of magenta date back to the 1850s when European chemists were experimenting with aniline dyes, synthetic colours that were being made from black coal tar. After much alchemical activity “a rich colour on the cusp between red and purple” was discovered.
Fuchsia, a brighter pink colour, takes its name from the distinctive double-bloomed flower. The fuchsia flower was first discovered by a botanist in the early 1700s, growing in the wild on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. He named the flower in honour of his hero, a German botanist Leonhart Fuchs.
Pinks of all shades have become popular colours for interiors in recent seasons, from the palest of pinks to the richest jewel magentas. Just recently, colour experts Farrow & Ball launched a new colour that they describe as ‘an exotic and adventurous pink’, named Rangwali.
Their new colour takes its name from the powder which is thrown during the Holi festival of colours in India. Farrow & Ball attribute characteristics of happiness, friendliness and vitality to this rich colour.
Brown is an interesting colour, as it is not found in the colour wheel, and yet it can be made by mixing primary coloured paints, therefore surely defining it as a colour in its own right. We certainly see and experience it as its own colour, or in fact as a wide range of colours for there are many many shades of brown.
While exploring the history of sepia, we discovered that it is named after the brown pigment produced from the ink sac of the common cuttlefish. It was also a favourite colour of Leonardo da Vinci because of its’ warm red undertones, and he used it for a number of his sketches.
This colour, ever present in the natural world around us, seems to be regaining popularity in our homes. Rich earthy tones, from deep sepias to fiery terracottas, are appearing more and more in the seductive interiors imagery of the leading home decor magazines.
Our colour inspiration mood board features magenta, fuchsia and brown, balanced by the addition of paler tints to soften the overall effect; a little pale pink and mushroomy taupe shade. A useful tip for creating a good colour palette is to include deep grounding base colours, mid tones and highlights.
Is this a colour scheme that would feel good in your home? Please tell us in the comments below!