Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Color Purple in Interiors, Nature, Art and History...

Purple,  the color for royalty, stands also for luxury, wealth, sophistication,
and is also the color of passion, romance and sensitivity.
A mysterious color, purple is associated with both nobility and spirituality.
The opposites of hot red and cool blue combine to create this intriguing color.

For me - it stands for Creativity

Image by Petra Voegtle


Inspired from the post  'Setting the tone'  by  Ann - PlumSiena.blogspot.com,
last week, remembering that I had a couple of bottles of dye that I bought years ago,
I became curious about what would happen if I used the dye
on a piece of my Old French Farmers Linen-Hemp.

So, I washed the piece I selected and set about dying it,

hang it on the line in perfect drying weather.
 Very dark color !!!  But I knew that it will get lighter as it begins to dry.

half way dry...

Que sera, sera....  what color will it be when dry ???

nearly dry - not too bad, and almost what I was hoping for


Some interesting facts and information
about the dyes used to produce the color purple:

Purple was, as far as I found out, the color of the first mixed-dye made by man.
The color was produced from an extremely expensive dye called 
Tyrian purple which originated in Tyre in Lebanon.
The Phoenicians owned the monopoly on this purple dye which 
was made by crushing thousands of sea shells - Mediterranean Murex.
It took ten thousands Murex molluscs to make dye just for one toga!
This purple dye was worth more than its weight in gold
and therefore came to symbolis both wealth and power.
Production of Tyrian purple almost ceased with the fall of Constantinople in 1453
and was replaced by other cheaper dyes like lichen and madder.

Tyrian purple: Classical antiquity
The actual color of Tyrian purple, the original color purple 
from which the name purple is derived became in classical antiquity
 a symbol of royalty because only the very wealthy could afford it.
Therefore Tyrian purple was also called Imperial purple.

It may have been discovered as early as the time of the Minoan civilization.
Alexander the Great (when giving imperial audiences as the Emperor of the Macedonian Empire),
the emperor of the Seleucid Empire, and the kings of Ptolemaic Egypt all wore Tyrian purple.
The imperial roves of Roman emperors were Tyrian purple trimmed in metallic gold thread.
The badge of office of a Roman Senator was a stripe of Tyrian purple on their white toga.

Han purple: Ancient China
Han purple is a type of artificial pigment 
found in China between 500 BC and AD 220.
It was used in the decoration of the Terracotta Army.


Ancient and timeless, yet somewhat contemporary.
Suitable in almost any interior, with classical antiques,
modern interiors, with silver, gold, etc......
to set off interestingly varied 'accents' in a room.

Image PlumSiena

Purple has a special, almost sacred place in nature:
lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet flowers are often delicate and considered precious.
Because purple is derived from the mixing of a strong warm and strong cool color
it has both warm and cool properties.

I love it because it seems to exist in all these different nuances throughout nature

Image Petra Voegtle

image PlumSiena

A very complementing and 'uplifting' color for "brown" antiques

Image PlumSiena

Image PlumSiena

Image PlumSiena

Pair of Danish 1950's glass vases, signed

 Image Petra Voegtle

The color purple...

suits even Oskar!


"Oh, I love red. I'm very loyal to my colors. I love violet!" - Elizabeth Taylor
"Violet has the shortest wavelength of the spectrum.
Behind it, the invisible ultraviolet.
Roses are Red, Violets are Blue.
Poor violet, violated for a rhyme." - Derek Jarman


French  Farmers 19th Century Linen - Hemp


...for dying!

 more soon....


see also
 Linens to Dye For....  -  post April 28, 2011 by Trish


"The colour purple means something special for me.
On one hand it is the colour of the holy, spiritual and was reserved
to be worn by royals only and the high ranking clerical staff......"  Petra Voegtle
read more: http://artandinterior.blogspot.com/2010/10/purple-colour-of-senses.html

Thanks to:
Petra Voegtle, artandinterior.blogspot.com
Annie from PlumSiena.blogspot.com


  1. What a wonderfully informative and beautiful post, Karin! I had no idea about the sea shells; no wonder it was so admired, as it was so costly to produce.

    Your piece of linen-hemp dried to a lovely shade.

    Purple is one colour I can wear; it suits my complexion and my green eyes.

    Thank you for this post...I appreciate the time it takes to put it together!

  2. Hello Karin,

    What can i say? It's just a beautiful blogspot and i had ni idea about the historie of purple.


  3. I love the color of your sheet it came out perfectly! You make me want to paint something purple although mister man might have a fit. Oskar seems to approve of your color choice as well.

  4. Purple is one of my favorite colors in the garden. Adore the splashes of purple indoors.

  5. Karin!!
    I LOVE the linen- what a great idea! It turned out such a gorgeous color.
    I am so flattered that you liked the plum and purple posts- I wondered if I was the only one who loved them, lol.
    Not surprisingly, I loved everything here!
    Oh- are those two Danish glass vases available? I know where they should go.

  6. Violett - Purpur - Lila

    Eine tolle Farbpalette in Natur- und Wohnfarben!


  7. What a beautiful and informative post on purple.
    I adore the final colour of your dye experiment...well done!
    Julie x

  8. What a beautiful post. I don't love purple, in fact I kinda don't even like it. The post you have shared are so much fun. I have a purple(lavender) bed room at, My Old Historic House, as I found hand printed wall paper on ebay and I loved it and the only color wave was purple,so I did it. be sure and stop by and see some time. Richard

  9. that is so pretty!
    perfect! it reminds me of the summer days to come!
    love the photos
    take care,

  10. Gorgeous, creative post! And your linen hemp turned out beautifully. You're so right that this colour can be classical or contemporary, and I love how you've brought purple in nature into your variations on a theme. Fabulous.

  11. The depth of your purple is gorgeous. Love it with grays... (ah, the clematis!). I seem to spend my days going from garden, to interior painting, to dyeing fabrics. Always trying to tweak the colors in my world. Wish I lived next door! What fun we would have! XO Trish

  12. Yes, we would have fun my dear Trish!
    But I guess we need 48 hour day's and 10-day weeks, or something like.....
    The colors of nature are just so inspiring!

  13. love the cousins of purple-lilacs lavenders "Oh, I love red. I'm very loyal to my colors. I love violet!" - Elizabeth Taylor- and I think this is a great quote too, sort of love the one you're with! pgt