Herr Diesbach

One day in around 1704, a Herr Diesbach was settling down to make carmine lake according to a tried and tested recipe – mixing ground up cochineal, alum and ferrous sulphate, then precipitating it all with an alkali – when he realised he had run out of alkali. He borrowed some from his boss, but did not realise it had been distilled with animal oil. Suddenly, to his amazement, he found blue instead of red in his flask. The clue is in the ‘animal’ element: the mixture had contained blood, which contains iron. Diesbach had unwittingly created iron ferrocyanide, which was dubbed ‘Prussian blue’ and was instantly popular, particularly as a house paint.

From Travels through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay.

Colour concept at Blackthorn

┬áThe original concept and colour scheme for the medical centre was – reddish on the right hand side coming in from the front door and bluish on the left side. This was to reflect the active side of the doctors and the caring side of the nurses, with meeting in peach blossom in the middle and upper landing to reflect the mixing of red and blue in the blood, leading towards the truly human of the future.