Ochre (British English) or ocher (American English) is a natural clay earth pigment which is a mixture of ferric oxide and varying amounts of clay and sand. Yellow ochre is a natural mineral consisting of silica and clay owing its colour to an iron oxyhydroxide mineral, goethite. It is found throughout the world, in many shades; in hues from yellow to brown. The best brown ochre comes from Cyprus.
We’ve seen ochre used successfully in interiors dating back hundreds of years, and as a warming colour used inside where ochre was the most commonly used pigment for painting walls in the ancient Mediterranean world.
The industrial process for making ochre pigment was developed by the French scientist Jean-Étienne Astier in the 1780’s, and thanks to the process invented by Astier and refined by his successors, ochre pigments from Roussillon were exported across Europe and around the world. It was not only used for artists paints and house paints; it also became an important ingredient for the early rubber industry.
Ochre in our collections has featured notably in the HORIZON print collection, where a sunnier tone of ochre was used in our contemporary collection. ELECTRA has provided that perfect connotation and commands a position.
In the 1920’s, ochre was used with much more finesse and effect. We saw ochre and metallic effects contrast effectively with darker dramatic walls, and this hugely influenced our SOHO CLUB woven collection.
Ochre also featured in our new BLOOM print collection and punctuated a softer greyer interior.
Since ochre is such a versatile tone and mixes well with so many other colours, it’s always welcoming harmony in contrasting themes.