Moses Harris

The system comprises two circles which are intended to demonstrate how the other colours can be created out of red, yellow and blue. The so-called «prismatic» circle commences with the aforesaid primary colours. The resultant intermediate colours are taken as the basis for a second circle of mixed «compound» colours. At the centre of his circle, Harris demonstrates what we nowadays know as the subtractive mixing of colours, with his most important observation showing that black will be formed through the superimposition of the three basic- colours: red, yellow and blue. (Detailed text)

Date: The engraver and entomologist introduced The Natural System of Colours between 1766 and 1770.

Country of origin: England

Basic colours: Red, yellow and blue

Form: Circle

Related systems: NewtonSowerbyHayterBirren

Bibliography: M. Harris, The Natural System of Colours, Licester Fields, ca. 1766; C. Parkhurst and R. L. Feller, “Who Invented the Color Wheel?”, Color Research and Application 7, pp. 217 – 230 (1982); W. Spillmann, “Color Systems”, in H. Linton, Color Consulting, New York 1992, pp. 169 – 183; John Gage, Colour and Culture, Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction, Thames and Hudson, 1993, pp.194, 203, 221(mention and comment).