There are many remarkable features about the ruins of Pompeii, the Roman city destroyed by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in AD79. Countless volumes have been written and programmes televised about the remains – the streets, the buildings, artefacts, bodies frozen in time.
Among these ‘preserved’ remains were many wonderful frescoes that provide a detailed and,often, revealing record of life at that time. Most of these have been transferred to the security of Naples Museum but a few remain in situ. The colour in the frescoes is often incredibly beautiful – especially the reds.
But it is only comparatively recently that research has revealed that much of the distinctive character of these colours was a consequence of exposure to the excessive heat and the gasses produced by the erupting volcano. Indeed, many of the exquisite reds were initially yellow!
Some of the frescoes were still under restoration wraps at the time of my visit.