Main content

Little Shop of Colours

Documentary. L Cornelissen & Son has been supplying artists with supplies since the 19th century. Cathy FitzGerald discovers the stories hiding among the paints and pigments.

What stories are hiding among the paints and pigments in an art supplies shop?

L Cornelissen & Son has been supplying artists since the 19th century. Based in a little shop near the British Museum, it's a Victorian throwback - all dark wood, high shelves and creaky floorboards. Jars of pigment 'glint like jewels in the semi-dark' (as Derek Jarman put it), full of vibrant powders with mysterious names and long, strange histories - Lapis Lazuli, Rose Madder, Naples Yellow, Potters Pink, Egyptian Blue, Caput Mortuum.

Cathy FitzGerald holes up in the shop for a week to hear its customers' stories. What are they buying? What are they making?

Presented and produced by Cathy FitzGerald
Original music by Stephen Coates
A White Stiletto production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Mon 29 Jan 2018 16:00




Discover more seriously interesting radio documentaries.