Past Event: Making Colour At The National Gallery

by Cass Art

To find out about our current events please refer to our events page

It is no secret that Cass Art loves to champion colour. Orange Lake Deep, Ultramarine, Linden Green and Radiant Orchid are just a handful of our tote bags that celebrate individual colours and the paintings that incorporate them.

It will come as no surprise, then, that we have partnered with Making Colour, this summer’s blockbuster show at The National Gallery. On Monday 30th June, Michael Harding, artist and manufacturer of oil paints, and Caroline Campbell, curator of Making Colour, led a talk at our Islington Flagship on the rich past and future of colour-making, and we are also offering a ticket offer for the exhibition.

Virgin in Prayer

Making Colour is an engaging exhibition that teaches viewers about the surprising materials used to create pigments – materials ranging from precious stones to soot, and crushed insects to toxic minerals.

The show takes you on an fascinating journey through the heritage of every colour – and this journey starts with blue. Learn how lapis lazuli is mined in Afghanistan, and explore the range of blues available to artists, including Prussian Blue, azurite and French Ultramarine.


Move onto green, and learn about the struggle that artists have faced when finding organic materials to make colour. Yellow and Orange closely follow, with an in-depth look at ceramics and glass, before entering the Red room. Here you can explore the creation of the many shades of red, studying how dyes for cloth could be used to make paint. Queen Victoria’s favourite colour comes next: purple, which came from the mineral fluorite.

The exhibition ends with a focus on Gold and Silver and, despite their absence from the technical colour spectrum, the vital role they have played in European painting.


One of the show’s highlights, however, is its interactive experiment, which directly interacts with the viewers. It asks them to stare at a bright image of a castle in a landscape, stare at a black dot, and then finally stare at a second picture of a castle. What happens is nothing short of magic – a colour-fuelled, mind-boggling illusion.

But we don’t want to ruin the surprise – so go and see the exhibition, be dazzled by the properties of pigment, and discover all the reasons why colour is truly extraordinary.

van Dyck

Cass Art Ticket Offer

Get 25% off tickets to Making Colour, when you purchase anything from Cass Art either online or in store.

Find out more and read about our other ticket offers here

Making Colour will be showing at The National Gallery until 7th September 2014. Read more about the exhibition on their website here.  

Image Credits:

Image 1 - The National Gallery, London

Image 2 - Sassoferrato, The Virgin in Prayer, 1640-50, Oil on canvas, 73 x 57.7 cm, The National Gallery, London

Image 3 - Paul Cézanne, Hillside in Provence, about 1890-2, Oil on canvas, 63.5 x 79.4 cm, The National Gallery, London

Image 4 - Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas, Combing the Hair ('La Coiffure'), about 1896, Oil on canvas, 114.3 x 146.7 cm, The National Gallery, London

Image 5 - Anthony van Dyck, Lady Elizabeth Thimbelby and Dorothy, Viscountess Andover, about 1637, Oil on canvas, 132.1 x 149 cm, The National Gallery, London

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