To learn more about 19th century colour, please consult the team’s publications, our colour bibliography and/or colour database.

Our publications

Exhibition catalogue

Charlotte Ribeyrol, Matthew Winterbottom & Madeline Hewitson (eds.), Colour Revolution: Victorian Art, Fashion & Design Catalogue, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, 2023.

Illustration News' article Dyes in History and Archeology 41


Irene Bilbao Zubiri, Anne-Laure Carré, ‘Giving a New Status to a Dyes Collection: A Contribution to the Chromotope Project’, Heritage, 2023.


Irene Bilbao Zubiri, Anne-Laure Carré, Agnès Meynard, ‘Des colorants à l’étude : une participation du musée des arts et métiers au projet CHROMOTOPE’, CoRé n°6 (SFIIC), Sept 2023.


Irene Bilbao Zubiri, ‘New synthetic black dyes: their discovery, production and everyday use (1859-1930)’, Technè, n°55, 2023.




ChromoBase, our colour database

The ChromoBase is the open access database of our ERC project CHROMOTOPE. Drawing on this research, the ChromoBase shows how the colouring materials and techniques which were invented in the 1850s brought about new ways of thinking about colour in literature, art, and the history of science and technology. The extraordinary story of this 19th-century “Colour Revolution” is told through a series of interwoven interdisciplinary “narratives” written by colour experts from all over the world. In keeping with the innovative methodology devised by the CHROMOTOPE team and thanks to the institutional collaboration between Sorbonne Université, the University of Oxford and the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM), the Chromobase has three objectives:

  1. To reveal the literary and artistic impact of new scientific approaches to chromatic materiality in the second half of the 19th century. See “Colour Materiality”.
  2. To show how the international exhibitions of this period shaped the new colourful landscapes of modernity. See “Colour Scape
  3. To understand how the invention of industrial dyes demanded/required new forms of “colour education”. See “Colour Pedagogy

Focusing on the chromatic “turn” of 1851 to 1867, the ChromoBase explores the impact of the synthetic dye revolution on the cultural history of Europe in the nineteenth century.

If you wish to contribute a colour narrative to our ChromoBase, please submit your topic, biography and CV to the editors (chromotope(at)gmail(dot)com).

Colour Bibliography

  • Loske, A.  Mary Gartside (c.1755-1819): Abstract Visions of Colour,  Thomas Heneage Art Books/Paul Holberton, 2024.
  • Dootson, K. S. Rainbow’s Gravity: Colour, Materiality and British Modernity, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2023.

  • Howes, D. The Sensory Studies Manifesto: Tracking the Sensorial Revolution in the Arts and Human Sciences, University of Toronto Press, 2022.

  • Loske, A. (ed.). A Cultural History of Color in the Age of Industry,  Bloomsbury, 2021.

  • Roque, G., La cochenille, de la teinture à la peinture. Une histoire matérielle de la couleur, Gallimard, 2021.

  • Fox, J., The World According to Color: A Cultural History, Penguin, 2021.

  • Baudez, B., Inessential Shadows, Architecture on Paper in Early Modern Europe, Princeton UP, 2021.

  • Smith, P., Painting, Science, and the Perception of Coloured Shadows: ‘The Most Beautiful Blue’, Routledge, 2021.

  • Loske, A., Colour: A Visual History, Tate, 2019.

  • Rossi, M., The Republic of colour, University of Chicago Press, 2019.

If you wish to get in touch

Contact US