The Colour of Time by Dan Jones

A fusion of amazing pictures and well-chosen words, The Colour of Time is a new and acclaimed landmark publication which offers a unique - and often beautiful - perspective on the past, transforming famous black and white photographs throughout history into colour.

We’re delighted to welcome author Dan Jones to tell us more about the book, and about one of the famous pictures within it - a photo taken of Michael Collins shortly before his death in 1922.

"It’s almost surreal to see The Colour of Time piled up on display in the windows and on the tables of bookshops all over Ireland at the moment - because for two years this epic collection of digitally colorised historical photographs existed only in draft image selections pinned to the walls of my office near London and in digital form on the screen of Marina Amaral’s computer in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. But here it is: the product of a two year collaboration between the two of us, which aims to tell a brand new history of the world between 1850 and 1960, from the Crimean War to the Cold War and the steam age to the space age. The book showcases Marina's astonishing, magical artistry, which breathes vivid colour across old black-and-white images with the beguiling effect of bringing history startlingly alive. My words attempt to weave the stories of those images together.  

We looked at around 10,000 images to whittle down to the final selection of 200 pictures that you’ll see in The Colour of Time. There were plenty of amazing photographs left on the cutting room floor - an agonising feeling. But some photos simply had to be in there. One of my favourites is the image of Michael Collins taken shortly before his death at Béal na Bláth in 1922. The original monochrome image is itself incredibly striking - full of movement and life, but heavy, as hindsight tells us, with the prescience of death. In colour, all of that is magnified and intensified: it’s as though Collins is back before us, striding purposefully off the pages of history and returning to a world he left so abruptly nearly a century ago, at the age of 31."  

Dan Jones



The Colour of Time spans more than a hundred years of world history from the reign of Queen Victoria and the US Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and beginning of the Space Age. It charts the rise and fall of empires, the achievements of science, industry and the arts, the tragedies of war and the politics of peace, and the lives of men and women who made history.on the past.

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