The Alchemy of Paint tries to see the world as if through the eyes of a medieval artist. It takes paint recipes as a starting point to explore the pre-Enlightenment world, from traditional geography through Aristotelian physics to glimpses of timeless wisdom. It addresses the much neglected nuts-and-bolt of making art, suggesting that craft was an integral part of life for all great artists. It also suggests that those crafts were completely embedded in all levels of society, touching on the physical, the psychological and the spiritual.

For more details of the book, see chapter headings, and for its context see recommended reading.

detail of Dover Bible, MS4 fol.242v, reproduced with the permission of the Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge