Charles Hayter

Based on physisist Thomas Young’s theory that all colours can be mixed from the three basic colours of red, blue and yellow, Hayter composed a disc-shaped compendium with black at its centre. But Hayter does not here distinguish between additive mixtures of light and subtractive mixtures of pigments. From the point of view of scientific histroy, Hayter’s system belongs to an era in which the argument — which had continued since the time of Newton — about the nature of light and whether it was composed of waves or particles seemed finally to have been resolved. This is therefore a good time to comment on related research from the first half of the 19th century. (Detailed text)

Date: Charles Hayter’s work appeared in 1826 in London and described how all colours could be obtained from just three.

Country of origin: England

Basic colours: Red, yellow and blue

Form: Triangle

Related systems: HarrisSowerbyMaxwellHelmholtzPope

Bibliography: Ch. Hayter, «A New Practical Treatise on the Three Primitive Colours Assumed as a Perfect System of Rudimentary Information», London 1826; F. Birren, «Principles of Color», New York 1969; W. Spillmann, «Color Systems», in: H. Linton, «Color Consulting», New York 1992, pp. 169-183.