Monday 22 January 2018


Via the always brilliant Nag on the Lake, we are referred to The Awl—for what may sadly be one of the last times with the property’s announcement that it will cease publication at the end of this month—for another lesson on colours with a non-specific hue called haint blue.

Like the folklore traditions that inform the vague but undoubtedly menacing concept of a haint, which may be etymologically related to haunt but has developed but has come to signify something other than the syncretic meanings it has taken on, the colour too isn’t defined as a shade but rather by how its employed. The analogy to the collected palette classed as Millennial Pink is a good one that underscores how we privilege such trends. Plantation houses in the southern United States, appropriating and blending the lore of the enslaved Gullah population—and upheld by custom many designers and decorators are unaware of—often painted the ceilings of porches and verandas blue—to trick restless spirits, haints, into believing that the nooks and corners were exposed to the sky above or surrounded by water and affording the home a degree of protection, like a talisman to ward off the evil eye.