Colour of the day no. 6 – Vermilion

Colour of the day 6 - Vermilion


Used since antiquity and made from cinnabar a naturally occurring mineral. Pliny the Elder records that it became so expensive that the price had to be fixed by the Roman government at 70 sesterces per pound, ten times more expensive than red ochre, because of the rarity of sources of pure cinnabar.

Vermilion was artificially manufactured from the 12th Century from a compound of mercury and is toxic.

We’d love to know via the comments below what Vermilion reminds you of or makes you think about. We’re also running a weekly competition where people can re-name a colour. If you had to re-name this colour, what would you call it? There will be a weekly prize of a pot of paint containing the colour and labelled with your new name and a £10 Amazon voucher.

Colour of the day

Throughout the Brighton Festival a colour of the day will be displayed in Fabrica and on this blog. To help decide which colour to choose we asked Anne Wight who is a grapheme synaesthete .This is a form of synaesthesia in which an individual’s perception of numbers and letters is associated with an experience of colour.

Like all forms of synaesthesia, grapheme-colour synaesthesia is involuntary, consistent, and memorable and is one of the most common forms of synaesthesia. Generally, while it is extremely unlikely that any two synaesthetes will report the same colours for all letters and numbers, studies of large numbers of synaesthetes find that there are some commonalities across letters.

We have chosen colours/pigments/paints for each day loosely based the colours she sees for the dates of May’s Festival.


2 responses to “Colour of the day no. 6 – Vermilion

  1. Vermilion. Oscar Wilde’s favourite word I believe. So I won’t rename it.

  2. Richard Welch

    Vermilion makes me think of tractors. At primary school we read a book about the different colours of red, and it featured a vermilion tractor. Ever since, the only proper tractor is a vermilion tractor.

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