I think I just had a memory from John’s life, from his childhood, of seeing the girls in the village around a maypole. They had garlands on their heads and the colors of the ribbons they had around the pole were much brighter than I had expected of the era: bold, almost neon pinks, a vivid chartreuse and a sky blue that is about the only color I could imagine existing back then. These were about the hues one would expect on ribbons from a modern-day easter basket.
This could be some interesting research. I’m not sure where to find information on what colors were available to consumers in the 1880s. I imagine to get a chartreuse that vivid back then, you’d probably have needed some kind of noxious chemicals like copper sulfate or arsenic (which may be why these colors didn’t appear in clothes).
Then again, this isn’t the first time colors have come through with vibrant intensity. When I recalled John’s funeral, I also recalled that the chaplain (who had on his robes for the service) had a robe trimmed in a very bright purple that looked like a recent chemical dye, not dye from the 1910s. If I can find supporting evidence for colors like these existing before 1890, I’ll be excited because that will be the first confirmation of anything from John’s life in a long time.