On the spectrum of visible light, yellow is a color between green and orange.
“According to surveys in Europe, Canada and the United States, yellow is the color people most often associate with amusement, optimism, gentleness, and spontaneity, but also with duplicity, envy, jealousy, avarice, and, in the U.S., with cowardice,” states an article at Wikipedia.
The color we think of as yellow was derived from the ochre family of pigments, all of which contain iron oxide-hydroxide—also known as limonite. Limonite is not the only source of the color yellow and fall leaves, bananas, canaries, and egg yolks all appear yellow due to the presence of carotenoids. Yellow is particularly attractive to birds and insects.
I’ve tried to imagine what it would be like to live in a yellow room, and all I come away with is a distant memory of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” about the descent into madness of a young Victorian-era woman. A copy is available in the link above where you can see a version of the book made available by the National Institutes of Health. Since watching the show “Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home,” a fascinating series for history lovers everywhere, I can’t help but wonder if additives to the wallpaper referenced were a partial cause of the main character’s madness. At the time, arsenic-based Scheele’s Green was used in many things in the home—including foods—to disastrous effects.
Wow. This post sounds truly morbid, and again I must affirm that yellow has always made me feel uneasy and claustrophobia, and hence I will dispatch my duties and end this post before I am further discomfited. My fainting couch is currently being reupholstered and I have nowhere to take to in event of a fit.
For more on deadly additives to the historical home, check out this this great post called “Death on the Walls-Poison in Victorian Britain.”