«The first discovered aniline dye —the first dye that was organic but was synthetized rather than naturally occurring—appeared in the Victorian era, and not without some help from Queen Victoria. In 1856 the Englishman William Henry Perkin discovered the formula attempting to synthetize quinine for treatment of malaria. He named it mauve and built a factory to produce it commercially, and in 1862 the queen promoted the endeavor bu appearing at the International Exposition in a mauve dress. Unfortunately, this mauve dye produced shades that faded entirely within ten years. Nonetheless, the era of artificial dyes had begun.
The next aniline dye to appear was even more clearly a piece of history. In 1859 King Vittorio Emmanuel of Sardinia made a secret pact with Napoleon III and, hoping to unify Italy, declared war on Austria, which then controlled northern Italy. Soon after they succeeded in defeating the Austrian in two towns west of Milan a purplish red dye was discovered. In honor of the Italian’s victory and as a reminder of the Austrians’humiliating defeat, the new dye was named for one of the annexed towns: Magenta.»
Designer’s Guide to Color, Chronicle Books, p. 76