In ancient Rome, the colour purple meant power - and everyone wanted to wear it. The craze was so intense that Pliny wrote "we must pardon the mad desire for purple, but why the high prices for a dye with an offensive smell and a hue which is dull and greenish, like an angry sea?".
Victoria Finlay is the author of Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox - and she took Jennifer Chevalier to the British Museum to find out about the long history of Tyrian Purple. Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay, published by Sceptre; ISBN: 0340733284
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