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Colour Notes 2.0

Here's our latest edition of Colour Notes fresh to your inbox, which we hope will keep your heart warm this cold weekend. This month’s focus is on, of course, Love Leaves by William Kilburn. In the Rose Pink and Saffron colourway, it's certainly a design befitting Valentine's Day.


Ochres are a family of natural earth pigments that include a large range of hues from yellows to oranges, reds and purples.  As they occur naturally, these pigments have been utilised since prehistoric and ancient times by many civilizations. They had a variety of purposes: they were used medicinally in ancient Egypt, as body decoration and sun protection by the indigenous Australians, as hair colourants in South Africa and to paint the walls in ancient Greece and Rome.  Both Roman Ochre, by Patrick Baty's Papers and Paints, and Temple Gold, by The Hackney Draper, marry well with the deep honey colour in the stripes of the Love Leaves. Warm, rich and delicious, these two shades of gold take us back to late afternoons under the low Tuscan Sun.


There's no other colour that has experienced as wide a shift in its range of meanings and associations throughout history. Before the 18th century, 'pink' was used to describe a variety of yellows produced from plant sources. It was only from the 18th century onwards that ‘pink’ referred to a light red colour. And as we mentioned in our last edition of Colour Notes, during the 19th century it was recognised as a colour for boys - as opposed to girls. In the late 1700s, pink was employed as the colour of seduction in George Romney's painting of Emma Hamilton, but in a painting by Thomas Lawrence titled 'Pinkie', around the same time, pink was used as a symbol of tenderness, childhood and innocence. Nancy's Blushes is a perfect pink by Farrow and Ball and is indeed named after the rosy cheeks of a much loved little girl called Nancy. Coincidentally, it works very well with our Love Leaves paper. One shade lighter than our pink leaves, it perfectly encapsulates the sweetness of spring. 



To some, Love Leaves appears to contain a rich dark brown, but on closer inspection you'll see it's actually a black. When yellow is juxtaposed so closely with black, it often creates an illusion of brown. On this basis we are recommending some glorious browns from the equally glorious Atelier Ellis. Brown Betty and Fallen Plum are both deep, evocative and slightly complicated colours, that we suspect over time might become true friends. Brown was not valued by medieval artists who loved the purity of bright, distinct colours and saw mixing as inherently corrupt. It was only in the Renaissance period that browns became more commonly used, as they were necessary for the painting of landscapes. Even then, in the complex world of fashion, bright coloured dyes for cloth were prized as they could only be afforded by the wealthy and powerful, leaving the browns for the poor. Over time, however, humbler colours gained favour. In the 16th and 17th centuries they were consciously chosen to indicate opposition to conspicuous displays of wealth.

We hope this helps with some colour inspiration. We’d love to see how you bring our wallpapers to life in your homes. Tag us on Instagram @commonroom.co, using the #mycommonroom or get in touch with images via email to info@commonroom.co.



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