Pompeii red is actually yellow

``Pompeiian red`` became a favoured colour following the discovery of Pompeii in the 18th century.

Last Updated: Sep 23, 2011, 18:39 PM IST

London: ``Pompeiian red`` became a favoured colour following the discovery of Pompeii in the 18th century. But, the red colour in the Roman town`s frescoes was initially yellow and changed colour from the gases emitted by Mount Vesuvius when it erupted, said a study.

The study conducted by Italy`s National Institute of Optics said the vivid "Pompeiian red" frescoes in the town were initially yellow. They turned red by the gases emitted from Vesuvius as it erupted in AD 79, reported Daily Telegraph.

Sergio Omarini of the institute said: "At the moment, there are 246 walls perceived as red, and 57 as yellow. But based on the new research, the numbers must have been, respectively, 165 and 138.

"The discovery allows us to rethink the original appearance of the city in radically different way from how we are used to - in which red, indeed `Pompeiian red`, has been prevalent."
"Red was an extremely expensive and valued colour. The proper, bright red was based on minium (red lead) imported from Armenia. What we often think of `Pompeiian red`, though, was a poor man`s version, made by giving yellow walls a red wash," Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, professor of classics at Cambridge University, was qouted as saying.

IANS