Forthcoming | ‘The Materiality of Color’

Posted in books by Editor on May 22, 2012

From Ashgate this fall:

Andrea Feeser, Maureen Daly Goggin, and Beth Fowkes Tobin, eds., The Materiality of Color: The Production, Circulation, and Application of Dyes and Pigments, 1400-1800 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2012), 350 pages, ISBN: 9781409429159, £65.

Although much has been written on the aesthetic value of color, there are other values that adhere to it with economic and social values among them. Through case studies of particular colors and colored objects, this volume demonstrates just how complex the history of color is by focusing onthe diverse social and cultural meanings of color; the trouble, pain, and suffering behind theproduction and application of these colors;the difficult technical processes for making and applying color; and the intricacy of commercial exchanges and knowledge transfers as commodities and techniques moved from one region toanother. By emphasizing color’s materiality, the way in which it was produced, exchanged, and used by artisans, artists, and craftspersons, contributors draw attention to the disjuncture between the beauty of color and the blood, sweat, and tears that went into its production, circulation, and application as well as to the complicated and varied social meanings attached to color within specific historical and social contexts.

This book captures color’s global history with chapters on indigo plantations in India and the American South, cochineal production in colonial Oaxaca, the taste for brightly colored Chinese objects in Europe, and the thriving trade in vermilion between Europeans and Native Americans. To underscore the complexity of the technical knowledge behind color production, there are chapters on the ‘discovery’ of Prussian blue, Brazilian feather techné, and wallpaper production. To sound the depths of color’s capacity for social and cultural meaning-making, there are chapters that explore the significance of black ink in Shakespeare’s sonnets, red threads in women’s needlework samplers, blues in Mayan sacred statuary, and greens and yellows in colored glass bracelets that were traded across the Arabian desert in the late Middle Ages.

The purpose of this book is to recover color’s complex–and sometimes morally troubling–past, and in doing so, to restore a sense of wonder and appreciation for our colorful world. With its nuanced and complex depiction of how color operated within local contexts and moved across the globe, this book will appeal to art historians, social and cultural historians, museum curators, literary scholars, rhetoric scholars, and historians of science and technology.

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Andrea Feeser, Maureen Daly Goggin, and Beth Fowkes Tobin — Introduction: The Value of Color

Part I: Color’s Social and Cultural Meanings

Jason LaFountain — Colorizing New England’s Burying Grounds

Maureen Daly Goggin — The Extraordinary Powers of Red in 18- and 19th-Century English Needlework

Molly H. Basset and Jeanette Favrot Peterson — Coloring the Sacred in 16th-Century Central Mexico

Mitchell Harris — The Expense of Ink and Wastes of Shame: Poetic Generation, Black Ink, and Material Waste in Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Vanessa Alayrac-Fielding — ‘Luscious Colors and Glossy Paint’: The Taste for China and the Consumption of Colors in 18th-Century England

Part II: Producing and Exchanging Pigments and Dyes

Jeremy Baskes — Seeking Red: The Production and Trade of Cochineal Dye in Oaxaca, Mexico, 1750–1821

J.-F. Lozier — Red Ochre, Vermilion and the Transatlantic Cosmetic Encounter

Padmini Tolat Balaram — Indian Indigo

Andrea Feeser — The Exceptional and the Expected: Red, White, and Black Made Blue in Colonial South Carolina

Sarah Lowengard — Prussian Blue: Transfers and Trials

Part III: Making Colored Objects

Stéphanie Karine Boulogne — Glass Bracelets in the Medieval and Early Modern Middle East: Design and Color as Identity Markers

Éva Deák — The Colorful Court of Gabriel Bethlen and Catherine of Brandenburg

Richard Blunt — The Evolution of Blackface Cosmetics on the Early Modern Stage

Amy Buono — Crafts of Color: Tupi Tapirage in Early Colonial Brazil

Elaine Gibbs — Colors and Techniques of 18th-Century Chinese Wallpaper: Blair House as Case Study

Beth Fowkes Tobin — Butterflies, Spiders, and Shells: Coloring Natural History Illustrations in Late 18th-Century Britain

Bibliography and Index

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Editors: Andrea Feeser is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, Theory, and Criticism at Clemson University. Maureen Daly Goggin is Associate Chair in the Department of English, Arizona State University. Beth Fowkes Tobin is Professor of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Georgia.

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