Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Painting of Antique Clothing, Mauve Ruffles, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Mauve Ruffles
10x10 oil on canvas

Have you heard of mauve?  Of course you have.  But, have you heard of Perkin's Mauve?  Maybe not...

Thanks to Henry Perkin we have synthetic dyes, and to be more specific, we have the color mauve (which is often called Perkin's Purple).  The proper name is mauve... and here is the story.

In 1856 Henry Perkin was 18 and a student at the Royal College of Chemistry in London, England.  He and his fellow students had been looking for a synthetic alternative to quinine (the malaria remedy found only in the bark of a South American tree).  His instructor, at the College, had noticed that some of the substances left over from gas lighting were very similar to quinine... and so the experiments began in ernest.  Who would be the first to discover a synthetic quinine?

Perkin had a lab set up in the attic of his parent's home.  After trying a few experiments he was about to wash out a glass flask when he noticed a black residue.  The solution of this blackish residue turned out to be a most beautiful color... and he eventually named it 'Mauve', (which comes from an old french word, which came from the latin word malva... the mallow flower family that is this color).

By 1858 every lady in London, Paris and New York who could afford the new colored fabric was wearing mauve, and this fashion trend made Perkin a very wealthy man before he was 20!  

This painting is from a photo I took last week of the mauve ruffles around the top of an antique brown toned dress.  I like the abstract feel of this painting, and of course I love the history of mauve coming from Coal Tar.. after all this is Alberta, and we are known for being an oil producer.

10x10 oil on canvas


Carol Nelson said...

Now that I know the origins of the color mauve, I might like it more - but probably not. (lol) You are a masochist for painting this very detailed ruffle!!!!
I enjoyed your informative post on this Easter color.

LindaHunt said...

I love the color mauve and I enjoy your ruffle! You tackle things that make me sweat just to think about painting them! Nice job!

Catherine Jeffrey said...

Great story and history lesson! I guess people became wealthy overnight even before the dot com era!
Great painting of a difficult subject. Love your diverse subjects and ideas.

Portrait Painting By Johanna Spinks said...

right up my street! perfect.