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Colour in the Garden: 'Malignant Magenta'

Susan W. Lanman
Garden History
Vol. 28, No. 2 (Winter, 2000), pp. 209-221
DOI: 10.2307/1587270
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1587270
Page Count: 13
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Colour in the Garden: 'Malignant Magenta'
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Abstract

A single colour, 'malignant magenta', provides an opportunity to explore the relationship between industrial development and garden aesthetics. A brief history of the links between aniline dyes, arsenic-based insecticides, pollution and gardens in the nineteenth century help in the understanding of why magenta embodied 'industrial colour' for those concerned with the negative consequences of industrialization. The work of John Ruskin, William Morris and Gertrude Jekyll offers subtle and discerning perspectives on the social meaning of colour use. Their work influenced American women writing about gardens as well as those seeking meaningful work consistent with aesthetic integrity. Malignant magenta was more than just a question of 'colour in the garden'.

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