The Meaning of the Colour Green
Updated: Nov 11, 2022
“He had that curious love of green, which in individuals is always a sign of a subtle artistic temperament, and in nations is said to denote a laxity, if not a decadence of morals.” Oscar Wilde
I was online looking to restock some of my watercolour paints the other week and came across an interesting article on “The meaning behind green” on Winsor and Newton’s website. I’ve summarised some parts here, but it’s available in full on www.winsornewton.com
“Whether it’s depicting growth, fertility or rebirth, the colour green has existed for thousands of years as a symbol of life itself. The Ancient Egyptians illustrated Osiris, God of the Underworld, with green skin. Unfortunately, creating a green paint using a combination of natural earth and the copper mineral malachite meant that it turned black over time”
[Because I know you too love the colour green, make sure to have a look at our green vintage console table, Brideshead. Rumour has it that this table was once at home in Lords Cricket Ground!]
In the 18th century it had become easier to create the colour green using brighter and more permanent synthetic green pigments, and the now notorious arsenic-laced Scheele’s Green was invented in 1775 by Carl Wilhelm Scheele. The element of arsenic meant that a much more vibrant green colouring could, for the first time be created, and its bold hue became hugely popular amongst Victorian society in London and Paris, ignorant to its poisonous effects.
In Japanese language, a term used to describe the colour green is midori, which comes from ‘to be in leaf’ or ‘to flourish’. Vital to landscape paintings, green flourished in 19th century artworks, like Van Gogh’s 1889 Green Wheat Field, and Monet’s Irises (circa 1914-1917).
Green has been used to signify freedom and independence through the 20th century onwards. Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka’s glamorous 1925 self-portrait Tamara in a Green Bugatti became an icon for the rising women’s liberation movement. More recently, in 2021, actor Elliot Page adorned a green carnation in his lapel; a nod to poet Oscar Wilde who did the same as a sign of secret homosexuality in 1892.”
Embodying these narratives into my vintage furniture for sale is something that I love to do. It provides meaning to my furniture. Now that you understand the power behind the colour green, what changes to your home decor will you be making?