Mauve Madness

Mauve Madness

As I was researching a ‘food archaeology’ dive into cinchona bark for my Around the Table sketching class I ordered a copy of the book Just The Tonic. As I was reading this well researched and very interesting book about the birth of tonic water, I came across a color note regarding – Mauve.

The color Mauve was born from the curiosity of a teenager named William Henry Perkin. William was a student involved in the experimentation to find a synthetic quinine, an important treatment for malaria in the mid 1800s. His success was not in finding a synthetic quinine, but he did discover a dye in the residue of his experimentation vat and by the age of 21 had his own dye manufacturing facility.

Mauve is NOT a color this writer is fond of, so I do not own a premixed Mauve on my watercolor palette. My venture into mixing this color was at the recommendation of others – I chose Quinacridone Rose & Ultramarine Blue… and a touch of Sap Green.

My Mauve Color Mix Variations

In 1859 Mauve instantly became a fashionable color with followers such as Empress Eugenie [Napoleon III’s wife] and Queen Victoria, influencers of their day.

The 1890s are sometimes referred to as the ‘Mauve Decade’ because of the popularity of the color in Europe and the US.

The Mauve Decade, Thomas Beer (1926)

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