George Field

The chemist George Field constructed a colour-circle from the basic colours of red, yellow and blue, thus wishing to take up a position opposed to Newton. Secondary and tertiary colours arise through progressive superimposition. Meanings were allocated to the colours: hot (red) and cold (blue) stand opposite one another; likewise advancing and retiring. George Field also saw a connection between colour and sound, and so draws our attention to one of the stumbling blocks of the era: namely, an understanding of the carrier medium of light. (Detailed text)

Date: The colour-circle appeared in 1846 in a book about «Chromatics», which dealt with the analogies and harmonies of colours.

Country of origin: England

Basic colours: Red, yellow and blue; Field also declared orange, green and purple to be primary colours.

Form: Circle

Related systems: Pythagoras, Aristoteles, PlatonGrosseteste, Alberti, da VinciFluddNewtonMaxwellHelmholtzBezold

Bibliography: G. Field, «Chromatics, of the Analogy, Harmony and Philosophy of Colours», London 1846 (new issue of the 1st edition of 1817); G. Field, «Rudiments of the Painter’s Art, or A Grammar of Colouring», London 1850; A. Hope und M. Walsh, «The Color Compendium», New York 1990; John Gage, «Colour and Culture, Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction», Thames and Hudson, 1993, pp. 214-216.