The Alchemy of Paint: Art Science and Secrets from the Middle Ages.

  • Foreword by Pamela Tudor-Craig
  • Preface: Art and Science
  • Chapter 1 Colour: dyes, pigments and metals
  • Chapter 2 Ultramarine: from over the seas
  • Chapter 3 Vermilion: towards the Philosophers' Stone
  • Chapter 4 Metallic blues: the powers of the planets
  • Chapter 5 Dragonsblood: the fruit of mortal combat
  • Chapter 6 Gold: the riches of the unknown
  • Chapter 7 Colour: the other side
  • Chapter 8 Vermilion: the sublime, crystallised
  • Chapter 9 Gold: love that conquers death
  • Chapter 10 The science of colour: epilogue
  • Endnotes for the text (25 pages)
  • Bibliography (13 pages)
  • Glossary (6 pages)
  • Index (7 pages)
  • Plus full-page schematic of the Hereford Mappa Mundi,
  • diagrams and line drawings.

335 page paperback published 2009, reprinted 2010 and 2011, now also available as an ebook.

Available in all good book stores (and sites).


Footnote x on page 223 alludes to Sir Isaac Newton's and Plato's beliefs about the far-fetched tales that this book draws upon. It reads:

Some of the traditional science in this book may have elicited a smile. If cold, that smile would be a response to the 'foolish' and 'vulgar' cloak in which deeper levels were hidden. But if warm, it could be a sign that an apparently unknown concept was actually quite familiar and had only temporarily been forgotten. Such a response is like an unexpected home-coming or release from discomfort. It is a sign of recognition and belonging, and is one of the proofs of the traditional doctrine that 'learning' is in fact only 'recollection', the soul having drunk from the River of Forgetfulness before being born on earth.

Those who smiled warmly might like The Riddle of the Image. Those who didn't, won't.