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Dark Puss

The incantation list is interesting and slightly curious in that Venice turpentine is by definition made from the Larch Larix occidentalis, I guess that the prefix is used to distinguish it from "artificial" Venice Turpentine. I have discovered that it is also used by farriers!

For those of you with a scientific bent there is an interesting discussion of the organic compounds in Venice turpentine (and related balsams) in "The Organic Chemistry of Museum Objects by Mills and White. Some of the relevant text is available at this url


Dark Puss's entry reminds me of how differently we all approach information--I have a friend who reads with one eye on the phase of the moon when it's mentioned, and she's often distressed by how wrong writers get it! For me, it's the flow of the language and the balance between "showing" and "telling" that makes a book work or not.

However, my main reason for commenting was to ask if the Radio 4's Book at Bedtime is streamed on the web so maybe I could pick it up in snowy (14" in the last two days!) Maine?

Dark Puss

Rebecca, if I was reading the book as a novel I'd probably pass on by without even considering the apparent tautology. I've just looked up caput mortuum as I had never encountered it before, it appears to be a slightly brownish violet.

To your question about "Book at Bedtime", have a look here

Margaret Powling

For a good book on colour, might I suggest COLOUR - TRAVELS THROUGH THE PAINTBOX by Victoria Finlay. But as I love any novel to do with art, this is for my wish list ... nay, my buying list, right away!

Fran H-B

Margaret, I too enjoyed Victoria Finlay's Colour. One of the best in the "informative" genre I think. Recently I read Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale. Another piece of fiction where the paintings and works of art are so vividly described that one wants to find them for real.

adele geras

I've just read this book, three months after everyone here. I was impressed by the writing and I loved all the colour/picture/art descriptions but all the way through I was asking myself WHY the clever (very gifted) author had chosen to cast it as a BIOGRAPHY? It made for a certain distance between us and the subjects being discussed....we never really saw Jennet and her family 'in action' so to speak. Only as reported by the biographer whose identity remains unknown till almost the end of the book. When that identity IS revealed, another even greater problem arises, to my mind, but I can't say what this is without giving the game away for others who haven't read it. I would just love to know why Kay didn't simply write the novel straight out, as it were....will try and find an interview where she might explain her reasons.

Re books about colours, the best I know is ALEXANDER THEROUX's PRIMARY COLOURS. That is marvellous.

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