Celebrated novelist, biographer, and critic Peter Ackroyd paints a vivid picture of one of the world's greatest cities in this brilliant and original work, exploring how the city's many hues have come to shape its history and identity.
Think of the colors of London and what do you imagine? The reds of open-top buses and terracotta bricks? The grey smog of Victorian industry, Portland stone, and pigeons in Trafalgar square? Or the gradations of yellows, violets, and blues that shimmer on the Thames at sunset—reflecting the incandescent light of a city that never truly goes dark. We associate green with royal parks and the District Line; gold with royal carriages, the Golden Lane Estate, and the tops of monuments and cathedrals.
Colors of London shows us that color is everywhere in the city, and each one holds myriad links to its past. The colors of London have inspired artists (Whistler, Van Gogh, Turner, Monet), designers (Harry Beck) and social reformers (Charles Booth). And from the city’s first origins, Ackroyd shows how color is always to be found at the heart of London’s history, from the blazing reds of the Great Fire of London to the blackouts of the Blitz to the bold colors of royal celebrations and vibrant street life.
This beautifully written book examines the city's fascinating relationship with color, alongside specially commissioned colorised photographs from Dynamichrome, which bring a lost London back to life.
London has been the main character in Ackroyd's work ever since his first novel, and he has won countless prizes in both fiction and non-fiction for his truly remarkable body of work. Here, he channels a lifetime of knowledge of the great city, writing with clarity and passion about the hues and shades which have shaped London's journey through history into the present day.
A truly invaluable book for lovers of art, history, photography, or urban geography, this beautifully illustrated title tells a rich and fascinating story of the history of this great and ever-changing city.
About the Author
London has been the main character in the work of Peter Ackroyd ever since his first novel, The Great Fire of London. His Hawksmoor won the Whitbread and the Guardian Fiction Prize, Chatterton was shortlisted for the Booker, London: the Biography won the South Bank Show Annual Award for Literature. Reviewers commonly categorize him as the Dickens of our day.