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Important acquisition

Nineteenth-century book on colour theory

In Exposé d’un moyen de définir et de nommer les couleurs (1861) chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul, then 75 years old, compiled everything he knew about the properties of colours and principles of colour contrast. This book contains more than a thousand pages and includes an extensive glossary of colours, complete with technical clarification. It also describes the ‘law of simultaneous colour contrasts’, which Chevreul had already published in his 1839 work De la loi du contraste simultané des couleurs. Chevreul, formerly director of the Manufacture des Gobelins in Paris, had identified this phenomenon during his studies of colour combinations of dyed wool in the manufactory’s tapestries, observing that complementary colours - opposite colours on the colour wheel such as purple and yellow - intensified in appearance when placed alongside one another-.