When I was a child, my brother and I were occasionally looked after by an elderly neighbour. She wouldn’t have known it but Miss Heaney was a fundamental part of my early colour tutelage.
Firstly, on the back of her larder door was a bag stuffed with empty pastel-coloured, gilt-lettered food boxes from Fortnum & Mason and Harrods, saved for me and Tom to build things from when we went round.
Secondly, Miss Heaney had purple soap in her bathroom and I remember pelting down her stairs two at a time to quiz her about its provenance the day I made this euphoric discovery (from Boots, apparently).
Thirdly, Miss Heaney was fanatical about heraldry and I was fascinated by her delicate watercolours of coats of arms.
She told me the colours were no ordinary colours but had special names which hailed from Norman French (naturally I was captivated by the thought of this).
The colours of heraldry
There are five strong, bright colours used in heraldry, plus two ‘metals’, listed here with their heraldic names.
Gold or yellow: Or
Silver or white: Argent
A stint at Miss Heaney’s was SO much more than being babysat. It was a true colour education.
Martha, The Colour File x