Images courtesy of & &

That royal hue, purple has its origins in the humblest of places, and even quite by accident. Of love, intoxication and penitence, this shade invites us to see beyond that which our mere eyes can conceive.

Text: Annemi Conradie 

For both Shakespeare and Jimi Hendrix was a heady hue evoking powerful intoxication. In Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare paints the sails of the Egyptian queen’s barge seductive purple, ‘so perfumed that the winds were love sick with them’. In his 1967 hit song Hendrix describes the disorientation of love or intoxicants as ‘purple haze’.

DecoColour: Purple
Images courtesy of

The ancient Greeks believed that purple amethysts offered some defence against intoxication and therefore fashioned glasses from the gemstone. Amethysts amulets were worn by medieval soldiers who believed that it helped them keep a cool head in battle and – failing that – assisted in their wounds.

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Ancient Egyptians and Gauls used blueberries and blackberries to make purply fabrics, and European common folk used mulberries to dye clothing. Orchil lichen was used by the Greeks and Hebrews of old to produce a red-violet dye by treating the moss with an ammoniac – mostly urine.

Images courtesy of
Images courtesy of

Read the full story on Page 88 of the new #IdeasIssue now on shelf & read more about Deco Colour: White


Our Ideas Issue is on shelf now and packed with achievable ideas and solutions for updating your home, it’s a keeper! We give you the freshest advice and inspiration for updating your kitchen, making breakfast for champions, and round up the sexiest fabrics for 2016. Pick up your copy today and tell us what you think on Twitter @Elle_Deco, sharing your #IdeasIssue #DecoSelfie


  1. excellent content on the color purple and blue thank you i have always wanted to know the history of each color maryann alan

Comments are closed.