June 19, 2007

Eau de Nil

It seems that every paint company has someone who throws darts at a word board and comes up with a name that may or may not describe the colour enough that you know what it looks like. For example, what colour would you think that Benjamin Moore's Mount Saint Anne is? Would you have guessed a blue? And would you ever put Split Pea on your walls without thinking of the Exorcist movie?

As I was perusing the New York Public Library's on-line digital collection (see below post), I was looking at some of the old prints of shoes. They were listed by their colours and used some of the wonderful older names - heliotrope, delphinium and eau de nil.Eau de Nil literally means water of the Nile. I am presuming that this means before the 20th century's use of parts of this river as a garbage and sewage dumping ground and when fashionable Victorians took Nile River cruises. You can imagine this green as a light shimmery green, wonderful in a silk satin. The image it conjures is of cool evenings on the water in a far-away land. I just don't think that Split Pea does that...


  1. So true! Remember when J Crew came on the scene and everyone laughed at their color names?

  2. POC, yes!!

    And Fairfax, I love "Eau de Nil." What a beautiful ring that has.

  3. too funny! yeah, i am always amused by some of the names paint companies come up with. but honestly, sometimes the funny, catchier ones make the difference in paint sales. if you have several brands of similar quality paint, and you remember liking a color from one of the brands, aren't you more likely to purchase that one? there are actually positions in which people's primary job is to chose paint names!
    (btw, fairfax, my email is back up and running now!)

  4. Eau de Nil sounds so romantic. The whole idea of the Nile in that era sounds so romantic.

  5. Having just had an urge to blog eau de nil too, how nice to see the shoes, to go with the frock, to go with the wall, to go with the biscuits....


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