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Green Stuff

Green Stuff

(p.44) Chapter Two Green Stuff
The Key of Green
Bruce R. Smith
University of Chicago Press

When Philip Howard came into his inheritance as 13th Earl of Arundel in 1580, he ordered a full inventory of the contents of Arundel Castle in Sussex to be drawn up. The castle's furnishings ranged from wall hangings to, window cloths, carpets, bed curtains, valences, quilts, counterpanes, bolsters, pillows, and cushions. Many large objects like wall hangings, carpets, and curtains were colored green. The high proportion of green stuff in the 1580 Arundel inventory was not, it seems, atypical, even for households smaller in size and further down the social scale. This chapter examines the material history of green, beginning with the green furnishings that sixteenth-century people of certain means seem to have enjoyed having around them and proceeding through climate and flora, land forms, Aristotle's physics of color, pigments and dyestuffs, alchemy, ancient and modern theories of vision, and Galenic psychology.

Keywords:   Aristotle, material history, green, furnishings, climate, pigments, color, vision, psychology, alchemy

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