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Book Review: Spectrum Heritage Patterns and Colours

One wonderful side effect of our current lockdown situation is that it’s the perfect time to get stuck into some new books! I’ll be exploring a few different titles over the coming weeks to share with you some essential reading on colour, botanicals and pattern. Let’s start with ‘Spectrum, Heritage Patterns and Colours’ by Thames & Hudson and the V&A.


Photo Credit: Thames & Hudson


Available on Amazon currently for £17.99, It’s difficult to put away the purse for such a busy and inspiring title. It details some of the most gorgeous and bountiful silks, rugs, and wall-coverings from the V&A’s collection, spanning from as early at the 15th Century. Taking a peek inside, you’ll find 115 pages of high quality pattern accompanied by a well organised and explained colour grid. The colour’s CMYK Values are also included, so It’s a must have for all digital designers looking for some heritage tones!

A few of my favourites explored in the book are “The Boar and Bear Hunt Tapestry”, 1425, Walter Crane’s “Cockatoo and Pomegranate” Wallpaper, 1899, and the more modern Timorous Beasties’ “Large Eel” Furnishing Fabric, 1992. I'm more inclined towards the darker tones, and Spectrum certainly delivers with plenty of deep emeralds and rich navy hues, paired with burnt sienna. They certainly knew how to build an eye catching colour palette, even in the 15th Century!



So, whether you’re looking for a pattern sourcebook, trying out some new colour ways and want a bit of inspiration, or even just looking for an aesthetically pleasing casual read, Spectrum is definitely one to keep a space for on the bookshelf.




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