A failed attempt to make pseudo-mauveine from 10 g of aniline led the author into an on-going 6-year research programme. Drawing inspiration from the collective work of many others, recent results cast doubt on Perkin's stated method for making authentic mauveine. Uncovering an improved route into synthetic derivatives of mauveine, which contain a 3-[(N-alkyl)aryl] substituent, has led by chance to a removable and traceless 3-(N-alkyl) protecting group, which alters the composition of mauveine to closely match that of the museum-archived samples. The possibility that W.H. Perkin or others exploited this method to make mauveine is considered.
- coal-tar dye