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The story behind Constable Green

The story behind Constable Green

The natural world has always been at the heart of Neptune’s colour palette but, with the launch of autumn 2022’s new shade, it takes on its deepest resonance yet. For Constable Green, named in honour of the master painter whose bucolic oils epitomise the English countryside, literally evolved from pigments extracted from trees, plants and earthy compounds.

The story begins somewhat obliquely when artist Lucy Mayes was mud-larking along the Thames, fascinated by the eroded masonry lying discarded on the riverbed. Picking up a river-washed red brick – affectionately known as a Thames Spud – it crumbled at her touch, leaving her with a handful of red ochre. And so, Lucy’s passion for pigment was born.

The classically trained artist went on to launch London Pigment, creating natural pigments for artists using unexpected materials. Verdigris from the copper wire of a burned-out moped; Wimbledon charcoal from a broken wooden tennis racket; dyes from hawthorn berries and horse chestnut trees.

When, earlier this year, we set out to create a deep, natural green for our new collection, Lucy was the perfect colour collaborator. Together, we worked to develop a shade with a depth that would gently flow from cool and crisp, to rich and intense, depending on the light.

Lucy began experimenting with different ratios of Verdigris, with its vibrant blue base, a strong yellow taken from the weld plant, and a hint of carbon black extracted from the charcoal of London plane trees. The result was Constable Green, an earthy, deep green that can envelop a room when used on all four walls, or act as a grounding contrast in paler schemes.

Naming the new shade in tribute to one of the nation’s greatest natural artists felt particularly fitting. Constable’s oils, not least his pastoral ‘six-footers’, capture moments of our rural history while reflecting the countryside’s palette of myriad greens, from the bright limes of rippling river weeds to the loamy black-greens of yews and firs.

As Lucy says, ‘Constable Green reminds me of the earthy deep greens of a Constable painting. So, this green colour, which has been made from raw materials that have a deep connection to a sense of place, could be considered a portrait of the British landscape.’

If you’d like to experiment with using Constable Green in your own home, you can order a sample pot online here.