Throughout history pigments and dyes have been extremely highly prized, sought after for their beauty and scarcity. Often traded along ancient routes by land and sea, their high cost imbuing their use with political as well as personal power and prestige.
Many of the pigments within Sue's collections and used in her paintings have been prepared from their raw form and originate from a vast array of sources such as minerals, earths, plants, lichen, animals and insects.
Plants provide a large range of colours, for example saffron yellow, madder red and indigo blue. Tree resins such as gamboge and dragonsblood give clear yellow and orange glazing colours. Charcoal and vine black from charred twigs.
The animal kingdom provides colours such as blacks ground from charred animal bones, crimson from beetles (cochineal), deep red from the lac insect, brown sepia ink from cuttlefish. Historically, purple from sea snails.
Pigments can be sourced directly from coloured earths or by grinding minerals such as malachite, azurite, lapis lazuli and cinnabar.
The history of manufactured or synthetic pigments such as Egyptian blue and Chinese vermilion can be traced back to antiquity.