On a recent trip to Italy, I spent some time exploring the ancient ruins of Pompeii – somewhere that had been on my ‘Bucket List’ for a number of years. Situated close to the large city of Naples, Pompeii is most famous for being buried beneath tons of volcanic ash from a cataclysmic eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius (below) in AD79.
The eruption destroyed the city, killing it’s inhabitants – approximately 11,000 people. Due to the nature of the volcanic ash, the lack of air and moisture preserved many of the buildings and their contents.
What struck me most about Pompeii, was the range of colour that was evident in the beautifully preserved paintings, murals, and buildings themselves. Pompeii must have been an extremely vibrant city in it’s time – a visually stunning palette of colour on almost every surface: the interior walls, ceilings and floors being superb examples.
Artists of the time would make their own colour pigments from burnt apple seeds, pulverised semiprecious stones such as lapis lazuli; charcoal; animal and human bones; naturally occurring earth pigments such as chlorite, as well as pomegranate juice and ground up beetles.
“Pompeii Red” (above) was a colour that was adopted by Victorians (having witnessed it on their ‘Grand Tours’) for the walls of their dining and living rooms.
For further information about Pompeii, visit the official website
All images © Harvey Mills Photography 2017