Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Friday, 18 October 2013
Farrow and Ball's
In my current capacity as spiritual advisor to the restoration project of a well-known and well-loved Bath pub (more on that after the unveiling), I've been reminded - again - about the poetic licence given to paint manufacturers, or at least the sales teams of the companies.
The hue I have chosen for the woodwork to the windows (to replace a sickly, slightly metallic, dark green) is entitled, 'Eating Room', from the Farrow and Ball collection.
The tint they call 'Purbeck Stone' is a warm grey (or 'gray' as they would spell it) and is right next to a colour called 'Light Gray', which is the exact true colour of Purbeck stone and not grey at all, just to see if we are paying attention.
Beneath 'Purbeck Stone' is 'Mole's Breath'. I sort of understand the logic behind this name, but only if I put myself in a spiritual mind-set. Since - as I already said - I am the spiritual advisor, this is easy for me.
There is a pink colour called, 'Nancy's Blushes', which I would have called, 'Slapped Arse', but that is probably another reason why I don't work for Farrow and Ball.
Another hue is called 'Elephant's Breath', which is very similar to 'Mole's Breath', but bigger. There isn't a 'Dog's Breath'.
'Dead Salmon' is another good one, and is probably a pun for all interior decorators, who love using the term 'dead' for all sorts of meanings.
This catalogue is right up-to-date, down with the rich-kids and riding the zeitgeist too - there is a colour called 'Middleton Pink'.
'Yellowcake'- there's an edgy reference to put before all those wind-farmers who pay twice as much for Georgian finishes. It is a citron-yellow, but it is right above a dirty cream colour that they call 'Citron'. I am surprised they didn't call it 'Citroen'.
They have an off-white called 'Blackened'. Ha ha.
'Charlotte's Locks' - Charlotte must be a ginger (pronounced ging-err) who works in the office. They could have caused all sorts of speculation about last year's Christmas party if they had called it, 'Charlotte's Pubes'.
'Ball Green' is another good one, and could have been Charlotte's revenge for the Christmas party reference. Oh, hang on, my imagination is running away with me, just like they intended.
There is one - and one only - traditional hue which takes it's name from the very pigment, and that is 'Arsenic'. I believe that arsenic is an element, but that hasn't stopped Farrow and Ball from registering the word as the exclusive property of their company when used as the name of a tint.
Oxide of arsenic is, indeed, a wonderful green but as we all know, it tends to kill the people who paint their walls with it. It takes a while, but it does the job eventually. This is how Napoleon was supposed to have met his end.
I used to have a stock of ancient pigments in glass bottles without labels. One of them was an arsenic green, and I never opened it's lid more than once, let alone used it.
Stick to the earth colours when in doubt. They are not only lime-fast, but also non-toxic, like modern 'Flake (lead) White'.
I've just realised that this has turned into a true Lifestyle post.