Moses Harris15 April 1730 – c. 1788Who was he?* He was a was an English entomologist and engraver.* He was a naturalist, and he wished to understand the relationship of colours and how they are coded.* His book - Natural System of Colours (1766) explains the principles, "materially, or by the painters art", by which all colours can be produced from 3 basic colours - red, yellow and blue.* It was Harris who showed the Subtractive mixing of colours, as opposed to Newton’s Additive mixing.* It was in his above mentioned book that he analised Newton’s theory, and then tried to show the number of colours that can be made from 3 basic colours.His best known works are:* Harris introduced the first printed colour-circle in 1766, specifying his primary colours very exactly: red was cinnabar, which could be made from sulphur and mercury; yellow was King’s yellow (an artificial orpiment); and ultramarine was used for blue.* A book named Aurilian - A natural history of English moths and butterflies.*A brief work on colour - Natural Systems of colour, with 8 written pages and 3 charts.
Moses Harris’ Colour TheoryBasis of the TheoryHarris builds upon the discovery by the Frenchman JacquesChristophe Le Blon (1667-1742). Le Bon is credited with theinvention of colour printing. In his book Natural Systems of colour,he has shown a well organised and well ordered arrangement of threepremitave colours which are:1. Red2. Blue3. YellowHe has shown the relationship of how these colours form all thevarious colours and their dependence on these colours which hetermed as “Prismatic” colours and these formed the “PrismaticColour Wheel.”
Prismatic CirclePrismatic Colours Compond Coloursunmixed pigments (grand or principal intermediate colours (mediates)colours) and not Light 1. Orange1. Red 2. Green2. Blue 3. Purple3. YellowMixing Prismatic Colours Give you Compound Colours1. Red + Yellow = Orange2. Blue + Yellow = Green3. Blue + Red = VioletExplaining the Theory - Subtraction and IntensityAccording to Harris mixing any two of these colours together will get 18 different coloursaccording to the predominance of any one of the two colours. The circle would go in asequence of the following, each having 20 levels of intensity following the subtraction method.Red, Red-Orange, Orange- Red, Orange, Yellow-Orange, Orange-Yellow, Yellow,Yellow-Green, Green- Yellow, Green, Blue-Green, Green-Blue, Blue, Blue-Purple, Purple- Blue,Purple, Red-Purple, Purple-Red and then Red again.
The Prismatic Circle Red Or ple anPur ge e Blu Ye ow ll Green
Orange, Green and Purple are the mixed colours, these are further mixed to form three TertiaryColours:1.Brown2. Olive3. SlateHarris further mixes the compound colours and produces 18 more colours which inturn resultin 300 new colours which altogether leads to 660 colours! But only 33 names are defined as therest may be termed as dirty or unmeaningfull colour.It is also seen that opposed to Newton’s light theory, All the colours and their correct and equalproportions give the colour Black.
The Compund colour, Tertiary Circle Orange ple Pur een Gr
Theory of SubtractionContrary to Newton’s theory which is based on addition, Hariss’theory is based on subtraction of colours.Thre lights blue, Green and Red have different wavelenghts. Blue-short wavelength, Green- Medium and Red- long.Now if we superimpose yellow with blue we get Green according tosubtraction. Here is how: Yellow + Blue = GreenGreen + blueMedium + Short + Short = MediumHere it is seen that the “common” Wavelenght is “subtracted” which gives you amedium wavelenghth and hene you obtain the colour Gree.
References1.http://www.colorsystem.com/?page_id=743&lang=en2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses_Harris3.http://books.google.com/books?id=2vfOyOrRdvAC&pg=PA59&dq=harris+moses+color+systems&hl=en&sa=X&ei=CdYiUdWzMsyN0QHar4HYBg&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=harris%20moses%20color%20systems&f=false4. The Natural System of colours - ebook