Why do we think white means pure?

Dr. James Fox

The colour white has been associated with purity for millennia in religious iconography, architecture and art. But has it come to represent something darker too?

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Learn about this Garden Talk

"In many respects, colour's greatest challenge is - like music - it resists most attempts to describe it. Colour might be one of those subjects that simply can't be written about."

But that's not going to stop Dr. James Fox from trying!

James is an art historian at the University of Cambridge, a curator, an award-winning broadcaster and the author of bestselling book The World According to Colour. He's joining us in The Garden for a deep dive into the most fascinating questions we could think to ask him about colour.

In this Garden Talk, James explores the history of white as a proxy for purity, touching on art, politics and hygiene and illuminating ideas about prejudice and race.

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Talk outline

Duration

50 minutes

Collection

Art & Society

About the Fellow

Dr. James Fox

James fell in love with art at the age of six and hasn't looked back since. He is now an art historian at the University of Cambridge, a curator, an award-winning broadcaster and the author of bestselling book The World According to Colour.

Art & Society Collection

Art is often used as a medium to convey messages and meaning, not just to entertain & delight. Artists play an important role in reflecting and commentating on the societies in which they live. But how does influence society?