This is an article that Jasper Fforde would definitely appreciate.
I don’t know that I’d ever really stopped to think too much about how we color things that don’t naturally have color. This is a longer read, but I found it genuinely fascinating.
“The world lacks a great all-around red. Always has. We’ve made do with alternatives that could be toxic or plain gross. The gladiators smeared their faces with mercury-based vermilion. Titian painted with an arsenic-based mineral called realgar. The British army’s red coats were infused with crushed cochineal beetles. For decades, red Lego bricks contained cadmium, a carcinogen.”
This is also a great time to announce, yet again, that everyone should read Jasper Fforde’s novel Shades of Grey… just ignore the unfortunate title comparisons, it’s good.