Are you reddy?

st moritz 1929

Tamara de Lempicka – St Moritz, 1929

I have a preference for the rich, dark wine colours and cherry purpley reds. To me, these are cosier and warmer than the vibrant shades of scarlet and ruby, which I tend to associate with violence. In Sanskrit as well as in the Inuit language, the word for red is the same as the word for blood and you can see of course why this is so. In Russian the word for red has the same root as the word for beautiful. Red is indeed the colour of drama and passion and is usually chosen to make a bold statement in fashion and interiors. Yves Saint Laurent once cited red as the colour of ‘love, battle, death, and warmth’.

 Red, the strongest colour on the spectrum, is the one that most attracts attention. It was one of the first colours used by prehistoric people to adorn the walls of caves using readily available natural pigments such as red ochre and iron oxide. Throughout history and across many cultures, red has been produced using either plants like madder or rubia, insects such as kermes or cochineal, minerals like cinnabar producing from brick-red, scarlet and vivid crimson to vermillion hue. Once, carmine was introduced in Europe, following the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus’, it was used extensively by the great painters of the 15th and 16th centuries such as Brueghel the Elder, Vermeer, Rubens, Velázquez and Tintoretto.

 Red is the colour of revolution, socialism and features as a colour on many flags symbolizing sacrifice and courage. It is also the colour of joyful celebration and formal ceremony. A red carpet is always de rigueur to welcome distinguished guests and scarlet academic gowns are worn by new graduates in universities and many other schools. Clerical dress often combines black with red as a mark of status and authority.  Red is the international colour of warning and danger. It was chosen due to its brightness in daytime and because it stands out against any natural or artificial background.

Pale to Medium

eileen cooper

Eileen Cooper, Baby talk, 1985.

Bois de Rose, Apple Blossom, Cadmium Red, Coquelicot, Copper Red, Coral Red, Currant Red, Geranium Red, Ruby, Scarlet, Fire Engine Red, Chinese Red, Peony, Madder Red, Pomegranate Red, Safflower Red, Tomato Red , Corinthian Red, Pompeian Red, Vermillion

Medium to Strong

Nasturtium Red, Crimson Red, Claret Red, Burgundy, Carmine, Brick Red, Rufous, Amaranth, Puce, Maroon, Ruddy, Cherry Red, Beetroot Red, Venetian Red, Turkey Red, Garnet, Blood Red, Tuscan Red.

 In the world of interiors:

When the ancient Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were re-discovered along with many villas in the Campania area in the mid-eighteen century, the arts world became enchanted with the colourful scenes of the frescoes adorning the interiors of the unearthed homes and shops; The love of neo-classical style became instant and Pompeian red was the colour in vogue for smart dining and drawing rooms and is still current nowadays.



Art deco interiors favoured solid blocks of colours and geometric patterns. Red was a favourite combined with black and white. It added glamour and vibrancy to a room. The English ceramist Clarice Cliff’s work is bold and her stylish designs are typical of this era. For a true red, try Emperor’s silk by Annie Sloan; For a deep and rich red,  how about bronze red by Little Greene or Kimono by Colourtrend.

Out there Now :

Fashion: The French shoe designer Christian Louboutin whose red-lacquered soles have become his recognizable signature.

Emmet Kane 061

Craft: Emmet Kane’s sculptural pieces.

Design: The iconic chairs by Danish designers : the Egg™chair (1958) by Arne Jacobsen, and the Panton Chair (1965) by Verner Panton.

Le Petit Chaperon Rouge, Charles Perrault’s fairy-tale, first printed in 1697.

In the Natural world

amanitaThe large white-gilled and white-spotted, usually red mushroom Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric. It is native to conifer and deciduous woodlands and can be found in the northern hemisphere.

Mars, the second smallest planet in the solar system is known as the red planet due to the iron oxide prevalent on its surface, which gives it a reddish appearance.

Red hair varies in colour from a bright or burnt orange to a deep burgundy. Only 1 to 2 % of the human population has red hair and it is more common in people of northern or western Europeans.

The red-crest male bird native of North and South America, the cardinal bird, named appropriately after the catholic cardinal’s mitre.

And finally imagine a fruit salad made of strawberries, cranberries, redcurrants, apples and pomegranate!

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