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Title: Colour as a Means of Art - Being an Adaption of the Experience of Professors to the - Practice of Amatures
Author: Howard, Frank
Language: English
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Entered at Stationers' Hall.

[Illustration: SUNSET]





    &c. &c. &c.


    The endeavour of the present work is to fix and develope, for
    the benefit of the Amateur and the Student, some of the
    acknowledged general principles of Colouring as a means of Art,
    without reference to the purposes to which such Art shall be
    applied,--without reference to poetical expression or character,
    or to the imitation of the details of Nature, which are
    requisite for the production of great works.

    And I have much pleasure in being permitted to dedicate it to
    you, who have so recently shown that the capability to execute
    in the higher walks of Art does not depend, as is erroneously
    supposed, upon mechanical skill attained by constant practice
    and devotion to one class of subjects; but upon intellectual
    qualifications and mental refinement, which has ever been
    conspicuous in your treatment of the subjects generally adorned
    by your pencil.

    I have the honour to remain,
    Your obedient Servant,
    Frank Howard.



PREFACE                                                             V

INTRODUCTION                                                       17


COLOURING AS A MEANS OF ART                                        25

 _Section 1._--HARMONY                                             27

 _Section 2._--TONE                                                31


RULES FOR PRODUCING PICTURES IN COLOUR                             35

 _Section 1._--CUYP'S PRINCIPLE                                    39

 _Section 2._--BOTH'S PRINCIPLE                                    41

 _Section 3._--HOBBIMA AND RUYSDAEL'S PRINCIPLES                   43

 _Section 4._--TENIERS AND OSTADE'S PRINCIPLES                     45


 _Section 6._--LUDOVICO CARACCI'S PRINCIPLE                        49

 _Section 7._--ANOTHER PRINCIPLE OF TITIAN                         51

 _Section 8._--RUBEN'S PRINCIPLE                                   53

 _Section 9._--TURNER'S PRINCIPLE                                  55

_Section 10._--ANOTHER PRINCIPLE OF TURNER                         57

_Section 11._--MODERN MANNER                                       59

               ARRANGEMENTS MAY BE REFERRED                        61


FINE COLOURING                                                     69

 _Section 1._--PRINCIPLES OF COLOURING OBJECTS                     71

 _Section 2._--COLOURS OF LIGHTS AND SHADOWS                       99

 _Section 3._--SUNSHINE                                           101

 _Section 4._--SUNSET                                             103

 _Section 5._--MOONLIGHT                                          105

 _Section 6._--GREY DAYLIGHT                                      107


FRONTISPIECE. SUNSET.            (to face Title page.)


 1. CUYP'S PRINCIPLE                                39

 2. BOTH'S PRINCIPLE                                41


 4. TENIER'S AND OSTADE'S PRINCIPLE                 45

 5. TITIAN AND THE VENETIAN SCHOOL                  47

 6. LUDOVICO CARACCI'S PRINCIPLE                    49

 7. ANOTHER PRINCIPLE OF TITIAN                     51

 8. RUBEN'S PRINCIPLE                               53

 9. TURNER'S PRINCIPLE                              55

10. ANOTHER PRINCIPLE OF TURNER                     57

11. MODERN MANNER                                   59

12. THE NERI                                        88

13. THE BIANCHI                                     93

14. THE DUTCH SCHOOL                                94

15. SUNSHINE                                       101

16. MOONLIGHT                                      105

17. GREY DAYLIGHT                                  107


In the Sketcher's Manual, the general principles of making pictures in
black and white, or, as it is technically termed, in Chiaroscuro, have
been briefly, but it is hoped distinctly, explained. The following
work on Colouring proceeds upon the same method. It treats first of
the arrangements of masses of colours which have been established
by various masters or schools, and which have been recognized as
satisfactory or agreeable by the public voice; it then points out
the abstract principles to which these several arrangements may be
referred; and finally directs attention to the qualities of Colouring
in Art which are requisite as regards the imitation of Nature. It does
not profess to descend to details, for these require a considerable
advance in the Art, and consequently could not possibly be rendered
intelligible in any publication, because they would require the
exercise of first-rate powers, to colour every individual impression
of the plates. For examples of the details of colouring, the Amateur
and the Student must be referred to the best pictures of the several
masters whose general principles are herein exhibited. But it should
be observed, that although the several masters, whose names have been
brought forward in the present work, and in the Sketcher's Manual, as
the originators of the several principles of Chiaroscuro and Colour,
are generally distinguished by some exercise of the principles to
which their names are attached, they have produced many and valuable
works in other and very different styles. It is not intended to imply
that all the works of these masters are constructed upon the same
principles; still less is it intended to imply that the principal
merit of these masters resides in the particular principle of
picture-making, which they have mainly, if not entirely, contributed
to develope; for this would reduce the art of painting to a
"mechanical trade," or mere means of gratifying the eye. Least of all
has it been intended to afford to critics a means of attack upon the
modern masters, whose names have been introduced into these little
works, as "painters of pictures on receipt, or on a principle of
manufacture." The development of a new principle of Art, whether
relating to Composition, Chiaroscuro, or Colour, is as meritorious
and worthy of distinction as, if not more so than, the production
of an able work upon the principles of Art previously established
by others.

The author is fully sensible that _he_ must submit to criticism with
respect to whatever he may place before the public; nor is he in the
least disposed to complain of any censure of the _matter contained_ in
the works, or of the _manner_ in which that matter is placed before
the public. He can even afford to smile at the criticism that a work
addressed to the AMATEUR and the STUDENT on Picture-making in
Chiaroscuro, "will not make a Raffaelle or a Titian," particularly as
the great merit of the latter was colouring; and he may observe that
he does not expect that even the present work, which is solely devoted
to colouring, "will make a Titian." It will be sufficient if he shall
have placed in a tangible shape before the reader _some_ of the
principles by which the effects of Colouring, and light and shade have
been made, by certain masters, subservient to higher purposes;--the
Art is but the means to an end. But the author feels that he has a
right to complain of a criticism of his work, in which the _censures_
of the _critic_ upon _third_ parties are made to appear to have
proceeded from the author; and he now begs to disclaim having said
anything disrespectful either of Mr. Stanfield or Mr. Roberts, either
directly or indirectly, as will be evident upon the inspection of the
Sketcher's Manual.

And the author feels it necessary to remove an erroneous impression
with respect to the nature and intention of these works, by stating,
that they are expressly intended for the Amateur or the Beginner in
Art; that they are not intended to be argumentative or controversial;
nor are any matters introduced that require the support of argument,
evidence, or authority, although these could easily be adduced, if
requisite; but the desire of the author has been to lay before the
Amateur such principles of Art as have received the sanction of years,
and are universally appreciated by the public in their effects: and
the only merit claimed is that of having brought them together in such
a form as to distinguish them clearly; and to render the principles as
evident as possible. But there is no pretension of limiting the whole
Art of Colouring to the principles of Colouring contained herein.

For the method in which the plates of the present work have been
executed, I am indebted to a recent improvement in Lithography, made
by Mr. Hullmandell. It is capable of producing more nearly the effects
of painting than any other style of engraving; but from these plates
professing only to represent masses of Colour and general tone, and
being the first that have been attempted in this particular
application, they are not calculated to display Mr. Hullmandell's
improvement to advantage.


Sir Joshua Reynolds in one of his Discourses has stated, that the
Edifice of Art has been gradually raised by the contributions of the
great men of past ages, and that although every addition to knowledge
required the exertion of a mind far in advance of its contemporaries
to effect it, the results have now become the common property of all
artists, and may easily be appropriated by every Student--"that much
may now be taught, which it required vast genius to discover."

It will not be necessary to adduce any argument in support of this
proposition. The difference of opinion will principally refer to "what
part can be taught?" And hereon there have been as great divisions and
disputes as have arisen with regard to the part of the pig that was
forbidden to be eaten by the followers of Mahomet; only it should be
observed that the discussions have terminated in an almost opposite
result; for whereas the whole pig was eaten, scarcely any of the Art
has been taught.

Numerous works have been published and numerous methods of instruction
adopted; but they are almost all directed to points of mechanical
execution, or the representation of individual objects, which mainly
depend upon skill.

Skill is the natural result of practice or fortunate organization, and
will, of course, differ with the perseverance or capacity of the
student, which has led to the persuasion that the productions of Art
are dependent upon what is called natural genius.

But what is _known_ of Art may be as easily communicated as any other
fact, and as easily acquired as a knowledge of history, or any other
appeal to the memory, and is indispensable equally to the critic and
to the amateur. On this subject there are few if any works; and it is
rarely touched by professed teachers of the Art.

The method of private tuition at present in favour is, to make a
drawing before the pupil, who is expected to appreciate the course of
proceeding, and to imitate the effect.

Watching a drawing thus in progress, it will be observed that the
greater part is done apparently without a thought; it appears to be
literally at the "fingers' ends" of the artist: and this will be found
to comprehend much, it not all that confers the effect of a picture.
But in what does this consist? Repeated practice, and continued study
of works of art, will undoubtedly, _in time_, bring it to the
"fingers' ends" of the student also, and it will insensibly become an
inexplicable habit, manner or style. But this is, in fact, what may be
taught or communicated in a short time; it is the knowledge resulting
from the experience of ages,--the edifice built up of discoveries from
time to time contributed to the fund of Art by the success and
failures of our predecessors. This is the _knowledge_ or science of
painting, which should precede all practice or attainment of skill,
and such portion as relates to colouring, it is the intention of the
present work to supply. Skill will follow as a result of the endeavour
to make use of the means to produce the end--Pictures.

There has been, unfortunately, so great confusion in the use of the
terms applicable to Colours, that it becomes difficult to convey any
distinct information respecting them, without hazarding the charge of
pedantry by limiting the signification of certain words. Tints, Tones,
and Shades of Colour have been, and still are, too commonly used so
indiscriminately to mean the same and different things, that no
definite impression can be given, unless there exist a previous
knowledge of the mode in which each word is applied. It will,
therefore, be necessary to explain the meanings with which each word
will be used in the present work.

TINTS are those specific and definite qualities of colours, by which
the individuals of a class are distinguished from each other: as of
Reds; Scarlet, Crimson, Pink, Rose-colour, &c.: of Greens;
Apple-green, Olive-green, Pea-green, &c.: of Yellows; Straw-colour,
Amber, &c.: of Blues; Sky-blue, Garter-blue, Indigo, &c.

SHADES OF COLOUR imply the degree of brilliancy or depth, as bright or
deep Crimson; light or dark Blue.

TONES OF COLOUR are of more general application, as indicating the
general aspect of classes of Tints or Shades; and especially
designating the degree of warmth or coldness: as cool greens, warm
greys. There may be lighter and darker _Shades_ of the same TONE, but
not of the same TINT. Rose-colour and Crimson may be said to be
lighter and darker shades of the same _Tone_.

The word Tone is also used by itself in opposition to crudity or
rawness of colour; and hence is technically descriptive of the ternary
compounds, of whatever tint or shade; while the primary colours and
the binary compounds, Blue, Red and Yellow, and Purple, Orange and
Green, are technically distinguished as Colour. The lighter shades of
Tone in this sense are technically included under the term _Greys_;
warm, as they contain Orange; cool, as they contain Purple or Green.
Tints and Tones are further classed as _pure_, as they approach
purple, and those tints observed in Mother of Pearl, hence, also
pearly tints; warm or hot as they approach Orange; heavy, and unless
they are exceedingly transparent, muddy, as they approach Green.

HALF-TINTS express those gradations of _colour_, and HALF-LIGHTS
those gradations of _light_, between the greatest brilliancy and the

Colours are said to be SUPPORTED by others which present some
resemblance, but are inferior in brilliancy; as blues by purples,
crimsons by reddish-browns, yellows by orange:

--CONTRASTED by those which are the most opposite, as blues by orange
or browns, reds by green, yellows by purples:

--BALANCED when by opposition they are so neutralized that no one
appears principal or predominant.

The author of a recent publication on Colour is quite in error, when,
in describing technical terms, he states "the Balance of Colouring is
the harmony produced by _supporting_ one colour by _another_
introduced in _different parts_ of the picture, either _of the same
colour_, or one approaching to it." This is SPREADING _a colour_
THROUGH the picture, and though it may _contribute_ to the balance of
colouring by _contrasting_ and _neutralizing_ the _other_ colours in
the work, it is in itself the very opposite of the _balance_ of
_colouring_, as it consists entirely in loading one side of the beam.
To this it may be added that colours are said to be SUPPORTED by
similar tints _adjacent_, and ECHOED by them when "in different parts
of the picture."

There are many other errors in the book above-mentioned, but as this
is not intended to be a controversial disquisition, those mistakes
only will be noticed which might otherwise lead to confusion; but to
the correction.

The definition of "MELLOWNESS," as "caused by those warm colours
which, when blended, produce an agreeable _tone_ or _hue_, and would
then be said to _sympathize_ and create _harmony_," is as incorrect
and indefinite, as the remainder of the paragraph is without
foundation:--"On the contrary, if, in mixing two or more colours, a
disagreeable and harsh effect were produced, they would be said to
have an _antipathy_, and create _rawness_--this adulteration of one
colour by another causes what painters term a MUDDY effect." Painters
term an effect _muddy_ when it is dirty in colour and wanting in
transparency. This fancy respecting the sympathy and antipathy of
certain colours, which is more distinctly alluded to in the following
passage:--"when, to produce a particular tint, the mixing of two
colours which do not sympathize is unavoidable; one or more may be
introduced whose sympathy is greater, that a pleasing and harmonious
effect may be produced, &c."--this is wholly groundless. How the
sympathy and antipathy alluded to are supposed to act is not very
evident, but they have no existence whatever.

The definition of a "PEARLY HUE," as "obtained by softening or
blending the _warm_ colours without adulterating one with the other,"
is equally liable to objection as untrue.

The attempt at a philosophical account of the _cause_ of the colours
produced at sunset and sunrise, has been incidentally exposed in the
third chapter of the present work. This error undoubtedly does not
originate with the professed author of the publication alluded to; and
as the greater part of the book is evidently, though without
acknowledgment, compiled from Mr. Burnett and other writers on the
subject, the other errors are probably in a great measure also the
result of compilation.



Colouring is the decorative part of Art. It answers to Rhythm and
Rhyme in poetry, as the means of attracting the senses. As it is a
means of producing, so its indispensable qualification is,--BEAUTY. In
the higher aims of Art it should be made subservient to Character and
Expression, by according with the nature of the subject; but, still
under the limitation and regulation of those principles which govern
Pictorial Effect. Under all circumstances, and to whatsoever purposes
applied, the first qualification of Colouring as a means of Art is,
that it should produce a Picture.

A picture has been elsewhere defined as an arrangement of one or more
objects and accessories so as to afford an agreeable subject of
Contemplation. And the principles which regulate Chiaroscuro and
general arrangement for this purpose, have been pointed out. The same
principles must regulate Colouring as a means of Art.

The mere representation of any object, however accurately detailed and
coloured, does not constitute a picture. It must be represented with
accessories and under Pictorial Effect. This as regards Chiaroscuro
has been shown to depend upon Breadth. As regards Colouring it depends
upon Harmony.




Harmony is a term borrowed from the sister Art of Music, to denote a
degree of relation or congruity between two or more colours, so as
mutually to support or develope each other's beauties, as is the case
with a chord or concord of sounds. The degrees of relation, or
qualification for harmony, of sounds, can be ascertained by
mathematical calculation incapable of erroneous results. Not so, those
of Colours; at least in the present state of the science of Optics. If
it should be proved that colours are the effect of vibrations of the
air, or any other fluid, as are sounds, the Harmony of Colours may
equally become the subject of mathematical calculation, with equally
certain results; at present we cannot go beyond rude approximations by
guess or supposition; and are vaguely placed under the regulation of
_Taste_, itself as Protean and undefined.

The theory of the three or seven colours being all equally necessary
to each other, which has been derived from the division of the ray of
light by a prism, has been supposed to afford the relative proportions
of the various tints necessary to Harmony in a picture, _because
existing in light_; and fanciful, but entirely unfounded, analogies
have been drawn by enthusiasts between the seven colours and the seven
notes, and the three colours and the notes of the common chord in
music: but without going into the question of how far this would be
likely to assist in our present inquiry, _if true_, it may be
sufficient to observe that these relative proportions _vary_ with the
substance of the prism by means of which the ray of light is divided;
so that the whole induction falls to the ground.

But were the proportions always the same, the induction would be
equally untenable. For, though light may be very beautiful; and the
Rainbow may be very beautiful; a totally different kind of beauty is
required for a picture. The colours of the Rainbow may perfectly
harmonize; but it is more than doubtful whether the person whose whole
picture was a representation of a Rainbow, would be considered to have
produced a finely coloured work of Art.

Harmony, in Pictorial Colour, does not depend upon any particular
proportionate quantities of the different tints; nor in any particular
disposition or arrangement of them; but upon the qualities and the
treatment of the individual colours. A picture may be painted with
every variety of the most brilliant colours; or, on the other hand, as
Rembrandt treated light, the work may contain only one small spark of
colour, the remainder being made up of neutral tints; and even the
small spark of colour may be dispensed with, and the whole picture be
made up of a variety of tones.

Having dwelt so much in the Sketcher's Manual, upon the principle of
Breadth being indispensable for the production of Pictorial Effect, it
will scarcely be requisite to point out that it is equally necessary
that Colours should be so treated as to produce _Unity_; and that, as
with lights and shadows, so whatever variety of tints may be
introduced into a picture, they must be so blended and incorporated
with each other, that they still form parts of a whole;--that whether
the lights be white, and the shadows black, or differently coloured,
the same necessity for graduation remains; so that Colours must not be
in flat patches. And in the treatment of Colours, besides the
graduation requisite for Breadth of Chiaroscuro, it is necessary to
pay attention to the peculiar quality termed TONE, which is
indispensable in a coloured Work of Art.

As well as Breadth of Chiaroscuro, there must be BREADTH OF TONE, the
fundamental quality of Harmony.




This is a term also borrowed from the vocabulary of Music, to denote a
property or quality of Colour, the opposite of gaudiness or harshness;
and implies a richness or sobriety, inviting quiet contemplation. It
confers what is technically termed _repose_. It bears that relation to
colours in general, that the quality of a musical note does to that of
an unmusical sound or mere noise. In Music, this is known to depend
upon the vibrations of the air being _isochronous_, or at regular
intervals. Should it be discovered that Colours are also produced by
vibrations, Tone in its present application may prove to arise from a
similar regularity.

Tone implies a degree of transparency, which in Oil colours is
attainable with great facility, by a process termed _glazing_; viz.
passing a transparent colour over a previously prepared tint. There
are also some other practical methods of producing it, which are more
advisable in certain cases, but which need not be further noticed
here. In Water colours, the greater number of pigments used are
transparent, and the legitimate method of using them proceeds upon the
principle of working entirely in transparent media; which has, at all
times, excited great hopes with regard to that branch of Art, as
affording a better means than Oil colours (in which the light tints
are all composed with opaque white) of producing the brilliancy and
truth of Nature, in combination with the transparency (tone) which is
required in a work of Art. And it is to be regretted, that in some
few, and those popular instances, this advantage arising out of the
legitimate use of Water colours, should have been thrown away, without
obtaining any equivalent, other than that of hiding or correcting
blunders; and that attempts should have been made, by the use of
opaque body colours, and a similar method of working, to imitate the
effect of Oil painting. The progress of the true art of Water-colour
drawing, must necessarily receive a check from the adoption of such a
practice, which will doubtless be sanctioned by the idle or the
hurried; and attempts to carry out the original prospects and genuine
advantages of the transparent medium, will probably become rare, if
they should not cease entirely.

It is true that opaque Water-colours are supposed to have an advantage
over Oil-colours, in light and brilliant parts, in consequence of the
tendency of the Oil (the _vehicle_, as it is technically termed) to
come to the surface, and thus to give a tinge to, or obscure, the
purer tints of skies and distant brilliant objects. On this account,
they are said to be used by Turner in these parts, when he desires to
attain great clearness and purity of colour. But, however, the _union_
of Water-colours with Oil may be advantageous for these purposes, and
thus _Opaque_ Water-colours may receive a partial sanction; it cannot
be denied that, in the instances previously alluded to, in which the
Opaque Water-colours are used for no other purpose than the facility
of recovering half-tints that had been too much obscured, the only
advantage of Water-colours is abandoned, without obtaining the
equivalent of _richness_, arising from texture in Oil; and the purity
of the one art is lost, without attaining the force of the other. A
crumbly, bungling appearance is produced, and for no reason, as the
practice can never be successfully employed in the parts or objects,
in which the use of semi-transparent colours is so invaluable in Oil.
And in fact, Opacity, the reverse of what is desired, Tone, is
produced by the very same means in Water-colours, by which
transparency is attained in Oil.

Breadth of Tone is obtained by a process termed _breaking the
colours_, which is the same with the method of incorporating lights
with each other, described in the Sketcher's Manual; viz. graduating
each tint into those adjacent, by which means a certain degree of
affinity is diffused throughout the whole picture, and Harmony, or
Breadth of Tone, is produced. The same results are effected, by a
process perhaps abused in the present day, termed Glazing, which
consists in passing some transparent pigment of the tone desired, over
the whole picture, and thus breaking all the tints in the work with
the same colour which produces the affinity required.



Although Harmony or Pictorial Colouring does not _depend_ upon any
_particular_ quantities or arrangement of _particular_ tints, as the
slightest consideration of the infinite variety of Pictures that have
been produced will prove; certain quantities and arrangements of
certain colours, have been found to effect it.

These discoveries have been made from time to time, and have each been
adopted as principles by different artists; and though admitting of
considerable variation in details, their effects have been so
evidently distinguished by the public as uniform in general aspect,
that they have been ranged in classes or schools, to one of which any
individual work is instantly referred, by those who have even a slight
acquaintance with the Art.

By _writers_ upon Art it has been very generally contended, that there
_must_ be a balance of warm and cold colours. A little consideration
will show, that this, as well as _all_ restrictive regulations, such
as that blue must not come in the front of the picture, &c. are
unfounded, or nearly the whole of the Dutch school of landscape and
interiors must be condemned as wanting in Harmony, or bad colourists;
for Ruysdael and Hobbima, Teniers and Ostade, seem to have had a
horror of warm colours, while, on the other hand, Cuyp and Both seem
to have had an equal dread of cool tints. That a balance of warm and
cold colour is _one_ principle by which Pictorial Harmony may be
obtained, is perfectly true; and that there are various means of
balancing them is also true; which affords numerous varieties of style
or character of pictures. And that the principle deduced by Sir Joshua
Reynolds from the Venetian school, that one-third of the picture
should (may) be cool, and the remaining two-thirds warm, is also just;
and will be productive of beautiful results. The error consists in
making these relative proportions _indispensable_ to Harmony.

This chapter will contain such principles as have been found to ensure
Harmony. There may, perhaps, be many others in store for future

These principles are of universal application, whatever objects may be
the subject of the drawing or picture, whether landscape, figures,
animals, flowers, or altogether; and they are wholly independent of
Poetical or Dramatic colouring,--the application of colour to
Expression and Character,--and of the colouring of individual objects.

The art of composition, in regard to colour, consists in arranging
objects in such a manner, that their true colouring will produce the
combination required by the principle adopted. The art of too many of
the artists of the present day, consists in introducing the colours
required, without any reference to their being found in nature or not.

[Illustration: CUYP'S PRINCIPLE]




The simplest arrangement and treatment of Colours will be found in the
style of Cuyp and Both; objects in shadow are relieved against a warm
sunny sky. For the reasons given in the Sketcher's Manual, with regard
to Progressive Execution, these are the best adapted to beginners;
objects in shadow do not present much variety of tint.

The whole aspect or general tone of the picture is warm. The shadows
are cooler than the lights, but very far from cold; being of a Sepia
brown, and sometimes warmer, with some cool reflections from the air.
The sky is gently graduated from a rich yellow to the most delicate
warm grey. The middle ground affords some blackish-green half-tints or
shadows; and some golden lights are introduced in front.

Cuyp treated figures, animals, and boats in this way. The points
requiring attention and care are, first, the tone of the sky and
yellow lights, which must be obtained from yellow and Roman ochres;
the sky should have a creamy quality of colour; and what little grey
is introduced, must be Cobalt Blue, or Ultramarine with Carmine, or
Lake, so as to prevent the slightest appearance of green; secondly,
the masses of shadow must be of agreeable shape and must not be too
dark. Plate.

[Illustration: BOTH'S PRINCIPLE]




The style of Both is only a slight variation from that of Cuyp. He
adopted a different character of subject, usually contriving to
relieve a mass of rock or bank, and a tree with delicate foliage
against the sky; and he increased the warmth of the general aspect of
the picture, by making the tree and part of another _light_ bank, of
the rich brown afforded by burnt Terra de Sienna, and by introducing
some red clouds in the sky. In some instances Both has not escaped the
dangers that present the difficulty to his followers; the tone of
these pictures appears hot, and thereby a vulgarity is occasioned, and
that refinement which is required by Taste in the Fine Arts, is
destroyed. Plate.





These masters have adopted a style which, though apparently as
opposite to that of Cuyp and Both as cold is to warm, resembles it in
this respect--they rarely, if ever, admit positive colours in force,
and thus offer another simple principle for the treatment and
arrangement of tints.

In Hobbima and Ruysdael, who painted landscapes, dark brownish masses
are relieved against a cloudy grey sky, and some white or grey light
is introduced in front to carry the colour of the sky through the
work. The general aspect of the picture is cold. What little warmth of
tone may be admitted, is to be found in the centre of the shadows; and
the only approximation to positive colour, is in the sky, a little
cold feeble blue, obtained in water-colours from Indigo; and a small
portion of a deeper shade of the same tone of blue on mountains or
trees in shadow in the distance; or a little cold green in the middle
ground. If ever any red be introduced, it must be a mere speck of
vermilion shaded with grey, to give value by contrast to the neutral
tones, which make up the principle part of the picture. Plate.

[Illustration: OSTADE'S PRINCIPLE]




Teniers and Ostade have treated homely interiors upon the same
principle, making up the greater part of the picture with brownish
grey tones, and introducing in the light, some very feeble spots of
the primary colours, carefully shaded with grey, to assimilate them
with the general aspect of the work. What little warmth is admitted,
is found in the shadows and reflections, as in the productions of
Ruysdael and Hobbima. But the lights afford a greater purity of tone;
so that while the works of Ruysdael and Hobbima would be said to have
a grey tone, Teniers, and particularly Ostade, are said to have a
silvery tone. Plate.





The Venetian School, founded by Titian, adopted a combination of rich
warm browns, yellows, and greens, supported by crimsons, all deep in
tone, overspreading two-thirds of the picture, opposed by very rich,
almost warm, blues, and animated by a point of white, sometimes
accompanied by black in the front of the subject. No violent contrasts
are admitted, no crude colours. The white is toned down to assimilate
with flesh tints, which are again toned to accord with golden lights,
gradually deepening into yellowish browns, and emerging through warm
greens to join the blues, which are kept in check by the opposition in
some places to rich reddish browns of the same relative shade, so that
one shall not be darker than the other; the blue is graduated as it
approaches the white, into which it is blended by the interposition of
fleshy-coloured tints. The whole aspect of the picture is rich and
warm, but subdued. The lights are golden and the shadows brown, with
just so much cool green, white, and blue, as shall prevent the picture
appearing rusty. But though these tints are called cool, because they
are cooler than the rest of the work, as in the style of Cuyp and
Both, they must not be cold; but above all it is requisite to take
care that they are not crude. White must be toned with yellow or red;
blue must incline to purple; and if black be introduced, it must not
be _blue_ black. Plate.





Ludovico Caracci followed the Venetian school, but subdued the colours
of the whole picture, to what Sir Joshua Reynolds calls a "cloistered
tone," the effect of a "dim religious light, through storied pane."
Neither white nor black are admitted: the deepest shadows do not
descend below a rich brown; the brightest lights do not rise above a
creamy yellow. The blue is no longer opposed to a brown of the same
relative shade, but is introduced in the half-lights, and carefully
blended into the shadows, by means of warm reflections, and the
interposition of reddish purple shadows. The Chiaroscuro is broader
and more tranquil than in the works of the Venetian school. Plate.





Titian has adopted another principle in the painted ceiling of the
Hall of Judgment, in the Ducal palace at Venice. Pure greys are
interspersed amongst masses of bright crimson, which are opposed to
some pure white and blue, broken by flesh tints. The reds and greys
are supported by some warm yellows, and the whole assimilated by rich
brown shadows. The contrasts of colour and Chiaroscuro are vivid, and
require care in the shapes, as well as the situations of the masses
and points of relief. Plate.

This principle of colouring is applicable to gorgeous historical
subjects, portraits, and flowers. Sir Thomas Lawrence frequently
adopted it with a slight variation, resulting from the combination of
some portion of the following principle which was developed by Rubens.

[Illustration: RUBEN'S PRINCIPLE]




Rubens is the founder of another school in which the most violent
contrasts of colour and Chiaroscuro are admitted in the focus of the
picture. The deepest black, supported by rich yellows, crimsons, and
blues, is opposed to the brightest vermilion, sometimes heightened
with gold, and the purest white, which is graduated through every
variety of pearly tint into bright blues, interspersed with purply
greys, creamy and fleshy half-tints.

Great simplicity of Chiaroscuro is requisite in this style of
colouring. Both the white and the black must graduate uninterruptedly
into the half-lights, which form the greater part of the picture. The
crimsons, blues, and yellows, that support the black, must all partake
of the same tone. The vermilion must graduate into purply tints, which
will emerge through greys and greens to the bright blue. Plate.

[Illustration: TURNER'S PRINCIPLE]




Turner has controverted the old doctrine of a balance of colours, by
showing that a picture may be made up of delicately graduated blues
and white, supported by pale cool green, and enlivened by a point of
rich brownish crimson. It requires some care in the graduation and
shapes of the masses of blue and white, and in the situation of the
point of colour. Plate.





Another principle adopted by Turner is, to contrast rich autumnal
yellows in the foreground, with a brilliant Italian blue sky,
graduated through a series of exquisitely delicate pearly tints, to
meet the cooler green tints of the middle ground. The warm colours in
the foreground are qualified by purply half-tints, and supported by
warm shadows and some rich crimsons; or sometimes reduced to
comparative sobriety by the opposition of the brightest orange and
white. Plate.

[Illustration: MODERN MANNER]




A very favourite manner of the present day is partially to relieve a
tower, steeple, spire, or some upright object, rendered of a purple
colour, against a white cloud which is graduated with purply greys,
creamy and fleshy tints, and opposed to some bright patches of blue;
the lower part of the building or object is graduated through cool
greens or greys, into some warmer yellows or browns in the foreground,
which are interspersed with points of bright colours, such as Cobalt
blue, Vermilion, Lake, and sometimes white and black, but always
introducing in front some dull red, as of bricks or tiles, contrasted
with fresh greys. Plate.




These several styles of colouring may be reduced to certain abstract
principles, which may be made the foundation for other and different
arrangements, as the taste and talent of the artist or amateur may

Pictures may be made up of a balance, or harmonic arrangement of

Or, of a balance, or harmonic arrangement of COLOURS.

Or, of a balance, or harmonic arrangement of TONES and COLOURS.

Or, by relieving a SPARK of COLOUR against a mass of TONES.

Or, by relieving a spot of black or white, _the concentration of_
TONES, against a general aspect of COLOURS.

Pictures may be warm in tone, qualified by so much cool tint as will
prevent their appearing hot.

Or cool, with so much warm tint as will prevent their appearing cold.

A small spark of bright colour will balance a large mass of subdued
tint. Equal brightness will require equal masses.

For the principles by which the shapes and situations of masses and
points must be governed, the reader is referred to the Sketcher's
Manual, where they will be found at length, and carefully illustrated.
The same regulations that govern the distribution of several lights or
shadows, must guide the positions of several masses of the same
colour. If two or more are introduced, they must not be equal in size,
nor similar in shape, nor must they be so placed, that a line drawn
through them, would be either horizontal or vertical--parallel with
either base or side. The great principle of colouring being Variety
within the limits of Harmony, such masses of similar tints should be
of different sizes and shapes, and should be interspersed at different
distances through the picture, so as to suggest an undulating line,
traversing all, or at least three, of the four quarters of the
picture, that all the particular colour shall not be on one side, and
none on the other, nor all at the lower, and none in the upper half of
the picture. But if the arrangement of relieving a spark of colour
against a mass of tones, or the reverse be adopted, it must not be
placed in the centre of the picture, nor equidistant from either top
and base, or the two sides.

With regard to the beauty of individual tints, it would be difficult
to come to any very strict definition, as what is pleasing to one
person, is not so to another; and particularly in reference to the use
of colours in Art, for they then become so dependent upon the other
tints by which they are surrounded, that they may be said to cease to
have positive designations, and to become only comparative; and there
is scarcely any tint, however disagreeable in itself, but may be made
by Art to appear agreeable, if not beautiful. But the object of the
present work being to collect the certain or decided principles of
Art, for the benefit of those who desire to derive pleasure or
amusement from it, the doubtful or questionable hypotheses will be
left untouched, and those points only brought forward which are
calculated to ensure success.

For this purpose, the amateur should avoid greenish blues and greenish
yellows; they both appear sickly: and never place such a green between
blue and yellow as would result from the mixture of the particular
tints of those two colours which are made use of.

Both blue and yellow become agreeable as they incline to red. Red
becomes rich as it inclines to blue, brilliant as it inclines to
yellow. All shades and tones of purple or orange are agreeable; but of
greens, those only which incline to yellow. Blueish greens require
either to be very pale, as shown in Turner's first principle (_See
Plate_), or moderated with black, so as almost to cease to be colours,
and become tones. All shades and tints of the tertiary compounds are
agreeable in their places; they receive value by the opposition of the
colour which enters least into their composition, and become difficult
to manage only when they approach full blueish green.

White and black give value to all colours and tones.

It may be necessary to make an observation upon the foregoing warning,
and almost proscription, of the use of green in Art, as that colour is
found to be exceedingly agreeable in Nature, and is used with success
in manufactures, and for other general purposes. It is found to afford
great relief to weak sight, and is abstractedly so much admired, that
it appears singular and paradoxical to say, that green must be
sparingly used in pictures, even in landscapes, whose greatest charm
in nature consist of luxuriance of vegetation: but such is the case.
The general tone of a picture may be yellow, as in the works of Cuyp,
Both, Ludovico Caracci (_see Plates_); red, as in the second principle
of Titian (_see Plate_); blue, as in the first principle of Turner
(_see Plates_); grey or brown, as in the works of Ruysdael and the
Dutch School (_see Plates_); but a green picture, however true to
nature, instantly excites an universal outcry as being disagreeable;
and if any of the modern school, to which we shall presently advert,
have been for a moment tolerated, it has arisen from the previous
great reputation of the artist, or for other merits in the work, and
in _spite_ of its being a green picture.

The following hypothesis _may_ be the mode of accounting for this
paradox, and, at the same time, _may_ throw some light upon another,
which will be noticed; that although painting is an imitative art,
imitation, to the extent of deception, does not constitute its highest

The eye is excited by Colour, and the object of painting, independent
of poetical expression or character, is to excite the eye agreeably.
But green is found to excite the eye _less_ than any other tint,
(thereby affording some corroboration to the idea that, strictly
speaking, its opposite red, is the only true _colour_,) not even
excepting black; so that it acts as an opiate, and is used for
counteracting the brightness of the sun, by means of parasols or
glasses, and to guard weak eyes from the effects of light by means of
silk shades.

It is thrown out as a suggestion that, in looking at a picture in
which excitement to the degree of pleasure is _expected_, a
disappointment _may_ arise from finding a prevalence of those tints
which do not excite, except to a very slight extent, and that _thus_ a
green picture _may_ occasion dissatisfaction. In looking at Nature we
do not wish to be always excited, and green is admired or valued as
affording repose; but in looking at a picture, the very object is
excitement, within certain limits, which green has a tendency to

Certain tints of green become disagreeable in certain parts of
pictures, from association of ideas. Green in flesh, excites the idea
of corruption and decay. Green in skies, occasioned by blending the
warm yellows of sunset with the blue, excite the impression of want of
skill to prevent the one tint running into the other.

But in reservation it must be repeated, that there is no tint that
cannot be controlled and made available, by great skill and
management, to the purposes of Art. These warnings are for beginners
and amateurs; and the work is intended to show them what they may do
with safety; as they attain proficiency, they may attempt
difficulties, which principally reside in _truth_ of detail _in
combination_ with agreeable general effect. When to this is added a
just subservience to Poetical Character, the greatest requisitions of
the Art have been complied with; all other difficulties, of whatever
nature, being merely a species of mountebank trickery, beneath the aim
of high Art, and deserving of the well-known sarcasm of Dr. Johnson
upon some difficult music, that "he wished it were impossible."



Having shown in the preceding chapters certain principles upon which
Pictorial arrangements of Colours may be ensured, the attention of the
reader must be directed to what other qualities are requisite to
constitute Fine Colouring.

Fine Colouring must not be confounded with Fine Colours. Some of the
Finest Colourists have avoided Fine Colours, and Sir Joshua Reynolds
adduces as a _proof_ that Apelles was a Fine Colourist, the statement
by Pliny, that, "after he had finished his pictures, he passed an
_atramentum_, or blackness, over the whole of them."

Nor is truth of imitation sufficient of itself to constitute Fine
Colouring, though it always confers a value on a work of Art.

Fine Colouring, in the higher walks of Art, implies an adaptation of
the general aspect or style of colouring to the expression and
character of the subject; it then acquires the title of Poetical
Colouring, which is its highest commendation as a means of Art.

But, independent of subject, there are other abstract qualifications
of Fine Colouring to be sought for, in the representation of objects.
It not only requires such an arrangement of tints and tones as shall
produce an agreeable whole, but descends to minutiæ, and demands that
such tints and tones, shall be obtained by a degree of refinement or
idealization, within probability, of the ordinary appearances of
Nature, or by a selection of the greatest beauties she displays, and
such a combination of them as shall contribute to convey the most
pleasing impressions, and present _her_ under the most attractive




Proceeding to consider Colouring independently of Character or
Expression, to which it should be subservient in the higher walks of
Art, the attention of the reader must be directed to a circumstance
connected with truth of representation.

It has commonly been the practice, under the almost universal sanction
of great authorities, to place the student who may be desirous of
acquiring the Art of Painting, before some object, and to direct him
to copy _what he sees_. But what does he see?

We need not go into the question of _how_ impressions are produced
upon the mind, through the medium of the eye; whether a species of
picture of the object be, during the inspection, as it were painted
upon the retina; and whether that be inverted or anywise different
from the real object; or whether, and to what extent, association
rectifies the imperfections of our sight. These, and other
investigations into the philosophical and physical nature of vision,
may be left to the consideration of those who desire to account for
particular facts; we have to do with the facts themselves.

In whatever manner the effect may be produced, it is indisputable,
that a certain and distinct impression is produced upon the mind,
through the medium of the eye, by every object which may be before it,
and that impression has a strict relation to the real character of the
object; for instance, a marble statue, it appears, or an impression is
conveyed of, an object of one unvaried tint. How this impression is
conveyed, is of no consequence; it is conveyed; and a series of tints
may be artificially arranged upon paper (or any other convenient
material), so as also, if not equally, to convey to the mind the
impression of a marble statue of uniform whiteness. But upon
examination of the drawing or painting, it would be seen, that
scarcely any two parts of the _representation_ of the statue were of
exactly the same tint. Some parts would be delicately graduated from a
point of light, through a series of darker tints, to give the
appearance of roundness; while others would be made nearly black by
shadow, to give the appearance of projection. The present enquiry has
reference solely to Colours, but the same difficulties occur with
regard to forms.

Here there is a discrepancy, occasioned by Association, which we shall
scarcely find language to explain, but which will in most cases prove
of serious perplexity to the student; for there are some other persons
like Queen Elizabeth, who have no idea of shadow, unless it be the
shadow of a parasol or tree, under which they may escape the intensity
of a noon-day sun. The statue will appear, or an impression will be
conveyed to the mind, of uniform whiteness. But pictorially speaking,
one spot only, that which reflects the greatest light, will appear
quite white. All the other parts will _appear_, that is, to convey the
impression, they must be made, of an infinite variety of tints, from
the brightest light to the deepest shadow. The statue _is_ actually
uniformly white, and it appears uniformly white, yet the _appearance_
or representation which must be put upon paper, to convey an
impression of that _appearance_ by drawing or painting, is totally
opposite, being an infinite variety of tints.

But in a statue, by reason of its convexity, the second species of
_appearance_, the Pictorial, is much more readily appreciated, from
the strong opposition of light and shadow, than in a flat surface,--a
ceiling, a pavement, or meadow, in which the perception of the
modifications of colour, arising from what is termed aerial
perspective, is considerably influenced, by the Association above
mentioned, until the eye has become educated to observe these minute
and delicate gradations of tint. Thus, in looking at a meadow, we know
the grass to be generally of the same colour throughout, and to an
uneducated eye it _appears_ equally green from one end to the other:
or the ceiling of a well lighted room, we know it to be of one colour
throughout, and it _appears_ of one even tint from the nearest to the
most distant extremity; yet pictorially speaking, it _appears_ of an
infinite variety of tints, for the effect of the atmosphere is such as
to rob the grass of its colour, and to make the white ceiling grey, as
they recede from the eye.

It will scarcely be necessary to guard against misconception as to the
use of the terms describing the effect of the atmosphere, by
explaining that it is not intended to assert that an _actual change_
takes place, or that there is any _actual_ difference in the colour of
those parts of objects which are at a distance from the eye; or, that
the colour in the distance does not appear to be, as we know it is,
the same with that nearest the eye; but that the effect of distance is
the _pictorial appearance_ of a modification of tint, by the
interposition of the atmosphere, perceptible only to an educated eye.

We know the grass to be equally green throughout, and it appears of
the tints which convey that impression; while Association conceals the
modification occasioned by the interposition of the atmosphere (which
the generality of observers consider as only "air," and of no
consequence), and excites the notion that the meadow appears of one
equal flat tint. But the distant extremity of the meadow is seen
through more or less atmosphere, which is more or less dense; and in
proportion to its density will the colour of the grass be _apparently_
altered or changed thereby; and in some instances, as in case of a
fog, entirely concealed.

In looking at any object through a perfectly transparent medium, such
as plate glass, we do not perceive any alteration in the real colours.
But when the medium is not perfectly transparent, which is the case
with the atmosphere, the colours of all objects seen through it are
modified or tinged in proportion to its density, until they are
sometimes lost or absorbed in the tint of the medium.

The slightest possible colourless opacity gives a medium approaching
to a whitish film, which is very evident when there is light behind
it; as in the case of the beams of the moon. This is the clearest
state of the atmosphere. As it increases in density, it becomes more
and more white, until it becomes a white mist, fog or cloud. The
atmosphere is sometimes coloured, as will hereafter be mentioned; at
present we have to do with its colourless state.

The opacity of the atmosphere, as a white film over the darkness of
space, occasions the blue appearance of the sky; and in proportion to
the rarity or density of the medium, is the intensity of colour, or
rather depth of tone. If the atmosphere be extremely rare, as in the
Polar regions, or at the height of Mont Blanc, the sky appears almost
black. And if the atmosphere be thick with vapour, the sky assumes a
milky colour, and the blue tint is lost in that of the medium. When
the atmosphere is just so rare as to be scarcely perceptible in its
influence upon terrestrial objects,--as in Italy, or the eastern
climes, where the most distant buildings appear diminished in size,
but almost as distinct as those close to the spectator,--yet
sufficiently dense to become a veil to the expanse of space, the
colour of the sky appears the most intense blue. As near as we can
superficially ascertain it,--in the exact medium between such rarity
of atmosphere as would afford blackness, and such opacity as would
afford whiteness,--we may expect to find the most intensely blue
colour in the sky.

As the effect of this colourless opacity of the atmosphere is, to
render the appearance of the _darkness of space_ a blue colour, so all
dark terrestrial objects are similarly affected by the intervening of
this medium, and, in a corresponding degree, become more or less blue.
The dark mountains in Wales and Scotland appear of a deep blue,
sometimes verging upon purple; and a slight comparison between the
colour of the trees close to the spectator and those in the distance,
will show how much more blue the latter become, from the influence of
the medium through which they are viewed.

And as objects, in proportion to their distance, are more or less
affected by the interposition of the atmosphere, so, also, do the
parts of the individual objects themselves, become more or less grey
as they recede. The boundaries of a white object are less white, and
of a black object less black, than the parts nearest the eye. A tree
is most green at the prominent parts, and greyer at the top and sides.

This truth is so decidedly felt by the public in general--though
perhaps insensibly appreciated and but tacitly acknowledged,--that, as
the atmosphere reduces the colours of all objects to a blue tint, so
all blue colours convey an impression of distance, and all tints
approaching to blue are accordingly designated _retiring colours_.

But the atmosphere is not always colourless. The rays of the sun tinge
it with yellow. The rays from a fire or candle tinge it with a colour
approaching to red. The combination of smoke tinges it with black or
brown; and fogs infuse various degrees of dingy yellow. All these
variations affect the colours of the objects seen through the
atmosphere, and modify the degree of blue, or quality of grey, tint
communicated thereby.

When the atmosphere is coloured by the light of the sun, the blue is
modified, more or less, into a warm grey. But owing to the brilliancy
resulting from the blaze of light, the tints remain of the utmost
purity. All tendency to green is kept in subordination by the pearly
tints of those parts which are in shadow. The atmosphere is rendered
more dense at the same time that it is coloured by the light of the
sun; but the light parts of the objects seen through it are rendered,
by the same cause, so much more brilliant, that the density of the
medium is partially compensated; while its full effect is apparent
upon the shadows seen through it, over which a bright haze diffuses a
beautiful blue tint, slightly warmed by the golden colour of the
illuminating power. The contrast of the yellow tinge in the lights
makes these shadows appear to incline to purple; and at sunset and
sunrise, when by the greater quantity of the medium, rendered more
dense by the aqueous vapours close to the earth, the colour of the
sun's light is enriched to a deep golden hue approaching orange and
red, the shadows assume a decidedly purple tint, of which the blue is
supplied by the density, and the red by the colour, of the medium. As
the light of the sun decreases, the colour of the atmosphere is more
evidently tinged with red, until the sun has sunk so far below the
horizon, that the shadows of night incorporating with the colour of
the vapours, render them a dull grey, sometimes approaching a brown.

In proportion as the atmosphere is illumined does it also become
opaque. The sky close to the sun appears much less blue than on the
opposite side of the heavens. The beams of the sun, or moon, or even
the rays of a candle, become so opaque, as absolutely to conceal all
objects behind them.

In a glowing sunshine, the particles of the atmosphere loaded with
light, produce that soft haze or _caligine_, "as the Italian hath it,"
by which the colours of every object seen through it, are assimilated
in one broad, warm, grey tone, however varied the tints of the objects
in reality may be.

Another singular appearance takes place in remote objects, of which no
one has so fully availed himself as Turner, for the production of
pictorial beauties, and the brilliancy of sunshine. The atmosphere,
which becomes most visible when before shadows, is frequently so much
illuminated by the sun's rays, as to make the shadows appear nearly
equally light with the illuminated parts of the objects; and the only
distinction between the lights and shadows is to be found in the
difference of tint--the shadows being blue or purple, and the lights a
warm yellow, or fleshy colour.

The practice in art, both in Oil and in Water colours, has been an
imitation of the process of nature, and with similar results. It is
usual in Oil to paint the distance stronger in colour than it is
intended to remain, and when dry, to pass some very thin opaque colour
(technically to scumble) over the whole. Thus the most perfectly
aerial tints are produced. In Water Colours, owing to the different
quality of the materials employed, another method is adopted. White,
or any opaque pigment (except when used in conjunction with Oil
painting), has a disagreeable effect; so it is considered advisable
partially to wash out the too highly coloured distance, and aerial
tints similar to those produced by the scumble are obtained.

However requisite it may be philosophically to account for these
appearances, it is unnecessary to perplex the reader of the present
work with a questionable statement of the greater impetus of rays of
certain colours enabling them to penetrate through the dense
atmosphere, while others are more feeble, and are swallowed up and
absorbed by the medium through which they in vain essay to pass. This
may be a very pretty story to amuse children with, and such
philosophers as are verging on their second childhood; but while so
simple a method can be discovered of accounting for the blueness of
the sky and distant objects, and one that can be so easily exemplified
as that given in the previous pages, we shall not be the parties to
contribute to that amusement, by writing "the history of some blue
rays that were lost in a fog." Nor is this the place to point out the
absurdity of such theories; it will be sufficient to remark that _if_
they are correct, all distant objects must appear _red_; and the
blueness of the sky can only be accounted for by the hypothesis, that
the atmosphere is a sort of trap for the blue rays of all the light
that has passed and is passing through it!

Such being the effect of the atmosphere, and such being the
antagonizing influence of Association in looking at Nature, it has
been found necessary for the purposes of Art, in representation, to
exaggerate the former, to overstep the modesty of Nature, and thus to
produce what may be termed conventional imitations or translations of

For, in looking at a picture, Association again affects us; and as we
know what is before us to be a flat surface, this can only be overcome
by increasing the effects produced by atmospheric influence,
reflections, refractions, &c. Hence the colour of all distant objects
are reduced to some tone of grey, oscillating between the extremes of
bright blue or even purple, and the medium between black and white as
the subject, may be in sunshine cold daylight; or, as the taste of the
artist may lead him to prefer one scale of colouring to another. Those
who delight in the sunny skies of Italy, or tropical climates,
represent the distance by the purest blue that Ultramarine affords.
Others, who delineate the village church or cathedral tower, represent
them of a dark grey. Mountain scenery is represented of a deep Indigo
blue, sometimes inclining to a decided purple, as all must remember in
the drawings of the late Mr. Robson.

If this exaggeration or pictorial license be objected to, as an
unnecessary departure from truth or the beauty of Nature, let the most
inveterate worshipper of verisimilitude place himself before a
landscape under bright sunshine, on a clear day, and make an exact
representation, if he be able, of what he sees; and he will be
convinced that in such an instance, something more and very different
is required, to make a finely coloured picture. It cannot be that the
colours of the original are deficient in beauty, but that an essential
quality of the beauty of Nature cannot be preserved by Imitative Art.
He will find that it will not be possible to preserve even slightly
the gradation of tints before him, without descending almost to
blackness in the shadows, which will be destructive of brilliancy of
sunshine, and at the same time, of that quality which is indispensable
in a work of Art, _breadth_. He will find that in comparison with the
brightness of the sky, the trees will look as dark as they are
represented by Ruysdael and Hobbima, but who incontestibly do not give
the idea of sunshine. As in translating from one language to another,
he will find that a literal version may give the bones, but not the
spirit of the text; and that something more is required to transfer
the full force and character of the original. Herein consists a great
part of the art of colouring objects. It may be that the scene being
unbounded in Nature, is acted upon by extraneous circumstances which
cannot be called to the aid of a picture.

As it is impossible with pigments to rival the brightness of light, it
has been found necessary to adopt some method of forcing the effect of
colours, so as to conceal or to supply a compensation for this
deficiency, and _apparently_ to produce the vigour of truth.

This has led to a division, which rivals in fierceness as in name, the
feud of the Bianchi and the Neri of Italy, into two great schisms or
factions of colourists, of whom, it is to be regretted, too many are
apt to consider those of the opposite party as lost in the depths of
absurdity. The hostility and contempt are quite mutual, and equally

A writer in Blackwood's Magazine of the Neri faction says, "We have
received a prescriptive right to make war upon the rising heresy of
light pictures, and we will wage it to the knife," or some such

Certain tones of colour have been found to be almost universally
recognized as agreeables; and by the above mentioned class of artists
and critics, the Neri, it is held to be "fine colouring," to reduce
every representation, without consideration of propriety, to these
conventionally agreeable tones. Plate. Sir Joshua Reynolds commends a
picture of a moonlight scene by Rubens, which is so rich in colour,
that if you hide the moon it appears like a sunset.

The background of the far-famed Mercury, Venus and Cupid, by Corregio,
in the National Gallery, and the sky of the Bacchus and Ariadne, by
Titian, in the same collection, are instances of this practice, the
use of conventionally agreeable tones, which may be seen by every one.
It would be difficult to say what the former was meant for, except
_background_ to the figures; and no one ever saw a sky such a blue as
the latter. It irresistibly brings to mind the counter-criticism of a
sceptic to the admiration of a landscape by Poussin, in which Sir
----, a worshipper of the old masters, was indulging:--"What I like so
much is, it looks so _like_ an _old picture_."--"Yes," said the
sceptic, "and the _sky_ looks as _old_ as the _rest_ of the _picture_,
for you never see such a sky now-a-days."

The Neri apparently give up all hope of rivalling the brightness of
nature; but by forcing the shadows and general tone of the whole
picture, endeavour to produce the same _gradation_ of light and shadow
as in nature, but on a lower scale.

The Bianchi party, on the other hand, endeavour to compensate for the
want of positive brilliancy, by refining or increasing the delicacy
and beauty of the tints.

Light is the origin, or immediate cause of _colour_, and the brighter
the light, the greater variety of tints will be found or displayed. As
we cannot rival the cause, the Bianchi contend that we must increase
the effect by introducing _colour_ in lieu of those _tints_ which in
nature appear neutral; and thus conceal the weakness of our imitation
of the cause, by making it apparently produce greater effects. Thus
all greys are rendered by pure Ultramarine blue tints, or delicate
pearly purple, and the greatest possible variety of beautiful and
delicate colours are introduced in the light; while the shadows are
generally of a neutral colour, the most decidedly contrasting with the
tints in the light. But sometimes the colour is also carried through
the shadows as well as the lights; positive crimson being introduced
into those of leaves or grass; while those of flesh are rendered by a
dull red; and those of a sandy bank by pure blue. Plate.

The Neri complain that the Bianchi want tone, and the Bianchi that the
Neri want purity and light.

Each of these factions contends, that all the difficulty of fine
colouring is to be found only in their own aim; while they hold in
perfect contempt the productions of their opponents, as being of such
facile achievement as to the sarcasm of Michael Angelo,--to be "fit
only for children," and beneath the attention of those who profess to
study the Fine Arts.

[Illustration: THE NERI]

The main difference between the principles of these two parties or
factions, will be found to lie in the treatment of the atmospheric
influence and association, previously alluded to. The Bianchi availing
themselves of the former circumstance, as a reason for introducing a
great variety of pearly greys, on the purity and beauty of which they
contend fine colouring is dependent; and the Neri availing themselves
of the latter, as an excuse for the introduction of breadth of warm
tones, and the omission of as much as possible of the cool tints,
which are deemed so indispensable by their rivals; they limit the
representation of atmospheric influence to the least possible degree.
Titian's Venuses are masses of the local colour of flesh, broken with
so little half-tint, that they are scarcely round, and satisfy few but
critics sufficiently learned in the Art, to be contented with the
beauties of _Art_, as a substitute for the imitation of _Nature_.

This class of colouring is founded upon the power of Association,
previously alluded to, by which, the local colour overpowers the greys
of atmospheric influence; in other words, that to the eyes of the
many, _flesh_ looks of a _flesh_ colour, and ought to be so
represented. But the _full_ effect of Association is here not allowed
for. In looking at flesh, we know it to be flesh colour; and we know
it to be round; and it requires some education of the eye to discover
the atmospheric influence, as well as the minute gradations in form.
But on the other hand, in looking at a picture, we know it to be a
flat surface; and however far the _imagination_ may be willing or have
a tendency to supply the deficiencies in the representation,
_Association_ is an _antagonist_ and not an ally. This will become
evident upon making outlines of objects and filling them up with flat
tints; imagination will not have power to make them appear to be
round, or to recede. The beauties of this class of colouring are
solely conventional.

Titian, Giorgione, and Sir Joshua Reynolds lead the van of the Neri;
Rubens, Vandyke, and Lawrence are at the head of the Bianchi; unless,
indeed, we should consider Turner as general-in-chief of the latter.
Claude was probably of the Bianchi faction; but Time, who is the great
ally of the Neri, has made him appear in some of his productions an
adherent of that party.

It may be added, that most historical painters lean to the Neri
faction, on account of the disadvantage arising from too close an
approach to the common appearance of every-day nature, of which the
effect is described in the proverb, that "familiarity breeds
contempt," and consequently is destructive of that grandeur,
solemnity, or refinement which is indispensable in high art; and they
take refuge in the "cloistered tone" of Ludovico Caracci, so commended
by Sir Joshua Reynolds, a conventional beauty which will presently be
noticed. The Landscape painters, on the other hand, almost universally
belong to the Bianchi party; as truth or _apparent_ truth is so much
more indispensable in subjects that only display the scenery of
nature, and which depend upon that resemblance for producing an
impression, than in subjects which appeal to the passions by the
display of some stirring incident. From the nature of the materials
employed, the tendency of oil painting is to the side of the Neri;
whilst the general inclination induced by Water-colour drawing, is in
favour of the Bianchi party. The _alleged_ principle of the colouring
of the Neri is deduced from the hypothesis laid down by Sir Isaac
Newton, that neither white nor black are _colours_, therefore say the
Neri, "neither should appear in a finely coloured picture; the
brightest lights should not be white; the deepest shadows should not
be black;" nevertheless, those productions which are cited by this
party as the finest specimens of colour in existence, _do_ contain
both _white_ and _black_. In the celebrated picture by Giorgione,
copied recently by Mr. Ward, R.A., to the eye of the uninitiated are
presented both white lights, and black shadows. The former, it is
true, are reduced by _Time_ or glazing; and the latter are excused as
having lost their original colour.

But this principle can scarcely be said to be carried out, except in
such pictures as possess the "cloistered tone" of Ludovico Caracci
alluded to. Here the lights are warm and golden, as if transmitted
through stained glass. The atmospheric greys are introduced to no
greater extent than is indispensable to prevent the picture appearing
rusty. The shadows are deep rich browns, into which are thrown still
warmer reflections; and the whole picture is subdued to a
soft-mysterious effect, which is admirably adapted to produce what is
technically termed _repose_, and to excite gentle, reverential,
solemn, and even affectionate feelings. It is a style of colouring
peculiarly suited to religious subjects; and in representations of
interiors, may be said to be like nature, because Nature _may_ be made
to appear like it. (_See Plate._)

[Illustration: THE BIANCHI]

This principle of colouring may be carried out on a higher scale than
is generally found among the productions of its advocates, and
abstractedly, is undoubtedly calculated to lead to very beautiful
results; though it may be questioned, whether it is sufficient to
entitle the party exclusively to arrogate to themselves the
designation of _colourists_, as they are in the habit of doing. For
the principle of the Bianchi is likewise adapted to produce
exceedingly beautiful colouring; and without some rational or
scientific standard by which the comparative beauty of individual
colours may be determined, so as to distinguish between fine colours
and fine colouring, the admirers of this class of colours may, with
the greatest justice, contend that it is equally beautiful with that
of the opposite party; while it has this superiority, that it will
enable the Artist to produce much more resemblance in the
representation of _external_ nature, and will be much less artificial
in the effects produced as imitation of interiors.

And they derive a strong argument in favour of their mode of
proceeding being correct, and most likely to stand, from the
circumstance, that the pictures of Vandyke, many of which are _now_
claimed by the Neri as painted on their principle, when first done
were frequently censured as being too _raw_ or _white_.

Further, it should be observed that, by too many of the Neri party,
their great object of worship, _Tone_, is limited to the rich warm
brownish yellow which is legitimately superinduced in oil pictures by
the action of Time, or glazing; and surreptitiously obtained by
washing with tobacco-water. But an inspection of the works of the
Dutch school, who belong to a third party which considers both the
Bianchi and Neri to be in the wrong, as too artificial, will show that
_tone_ may be cool as well as warm, and that there is a silvery _tone_
which has as devoted admirers as those of the Golden Image--(_see
Plates of Ruysdael and of Ostade_).

[Illustration: THE DUTCH SCHOOL]

It may not be becoming in the author of the present work to decide
between these great disputants; but from the statement respecting
Vandyke's pictures, that they were considered _raw_ when fresh
painted, as well as from the nature of the materials employed, it is
evident, that the productions of Titian, Giorgione, and other
celebrated colourists, were not, when first painted, of such deep
tones as they exhibit now; and it may be suspected that the
reputation, which was derived from the _original_ colouring of their
pictures, has, to a certain extent, been attached to the colouring
they at present exhibit; and that veneration of talent, and respect
for authority, have given sanction to what would be repudiated by the
Great men whose names form the slogan of the party, and is not really
entitled to commendation.

That the two principles may be combined, and so produce higher
qualities than either affords alone, is hardly possible, when their
opposite treatment of the effects of atmospheric influence and
association are taken into consideration.

But this compromise may be made between them with advantage both to
Amateurs and Artists; that the style of the Neri, including that of
the Dutch school, may be considered as most applicable to the
representation of interiors and quiet or grand subjects; while that of
the Bianchi may be considered as most suited to exteriors, and
subjects of gaiety and animation.

For the benefit of the Amateur, it will be necessary to say something
more upon the style of colouring adopted by the Dutch school, the
productions of which among the cognoscenti, are termed pictures of
_Tone_; tone being in this instance used in opposition to positive
colour, and as implying varieties of the ternary combinations, called
neutral tints, or greys, but otherwise possessing the qualities of
tone in a general sense, namely, transparency.

This style of colouring is peculiarly adapted to the class of subjects
on which the Masters of the Dutch school generally exercised their
pencils, homely interiors; but when applied to out-of-door scenes,
although undoubtedly possessed of certain conventional beauties, such
as harmonious arrangement and balance of tones, it has a tendency to
look dull and heavy. The landscapes of Ruysdael and Hobbima do not
reckon among their beauties, that of vivacity or cheerfulness. They
may be clear and bright and fresh, as their admirers say, but they do
not represent Nature under her most bewitching aspect, nor is the
style of the school adapted to do so. It leans to the side of the
Neri, from its dread of brilliant colours. It is unaffected, sober,
and in many instances, such as interiors or close woody scenes under
grey daylight, possesses great truth; but from its limited
application, and unpretending effect, is scarcely to be put into
competition, as a style of Fine Colouring, with the higher aims of the
two great parties before mentioned. Plate.

Such is the present state of the theory of Fine Colouring; from which
it is evident, that, except in a very limited class of subjects, Truth
_cannot_ be made the test--that even in this class of subjects, it is
disputed whether it _should_ be made the test; and that it is also
disputed, to what extent a departure from truth is admissible; or
rather, what quantity of resemblance to Nature is indispensable, and
what method may be the best of compensating the want of accurate
transcription; in short, what is the true _idiom_ of Fine Colouring in
Art, so as fully to translate the beauties of Nature.

The fashion of the day rather leans to the Bianchi party in
Water-colour drawings, if not in Oil paintings; but the principles of
_none_ of the parties are _fully_ developed in the works of their
existing followers. The followers of the Dutch school are sacrificing
part of their truth for some, but it may be doubted whether the best,
part of the conventional tones of both the other parties. The Bianchi
are more regardless of truth than they need be, even to develope their
principles to the utmost. And the Neri admit themselves to be
wandering in a maze, without any fixed ideas of their own principles,
and therefore are less frequently successful than the reverse; and
they are equally obnoxious to the charge of departing farther from
truth, than is necessary to give their own principles full play. Very
recently a heresy of this faction adopted a peculiarity of tone, which
is not to be found in the works of any of the great men of their
party; and which is obnoxious to two serious objections. It is a
greenish tone that unavoidably excites the idea of corruption and
decay, which, having a tendency towards the disgusting, is not
tolerable in the Fine Arts; and the second objection is, that, in
their zeal for transparency, they had lost solidity to such an extent,
that a portrait of George IV. by a celebrated artist, had the
appearance of a vision, or of having been spun out of green glass

The beginner and the Amateur have already been warned against the
dangers of green in pictures. And it may now be added, that
transparency should reside in the _colours_ to conceal the appearance
of pigments, but that the substances represented should appear as
_solid_ as in nature.




Whatever party of Colourists may find favour in the eyes of the
reader, it will be necessary for him to be aware of certain effects
observed in Nature, of which he will make such use as is admissible
under the principle he may adopt.

Colours reside in the light parts of objects, if not brightest on the
lightest parts, closely adjacent to them.

Shadows reduce, blacken, or render negative the colours of objects.
The edges, extremities, or boundaries of _all_ shadows are _grey_.

From the effect of contrast, shadows appear _comparatively_ of the
opposite colour to that of the light. The Bianchi take advantage of
this circumstance, and sometimes force or increase the colour of the
shadow, to bring out that of the light without really tinging it so
_deeply_ as is the case in Nature; whereby greater brilliancy is

The colours of the lights and shadows depend upon that of the
illuminating power, whether sunshine, moonlight, or grey daylight.
These will be separately pointed out.

[Illustration: SUNSHINE]




The degree to which the colours of objects will be affected by that of
the source of light, will very much depend upon the strength of the
illuminating power.

The light of the noonday sun is so vivid that it diffuses its colour
over all the illumined parts of the objects under its influence. These
assume a rich golden hue, through which the local colours of the
objects are slightly distinguishable, but rather as modifications of
the warm tone diffused by the rays of the sun, than as integral
varieties of tint.

As already has been noticed, the obvious effect of a yellowish light
upon a blue object would be to induce a greenish tint; but in the case
of sunshine, this is counteracted by the brilliancy of the light, and
in representation, it is necessary for the same purpose, to infuse
sufficient red into the light of blue objects under the influence of
sunshine, or a disagreeable heavy effect will be produced.

Green, yellow, and orange objects become particularly brilliant in

The shadows of the foreground are, in Nature, particularly negative or
colourless; but as they recede, become gradually more blue. Sir Joshua
Reynolds has made the shadows on the arm of his Sleeping Girl nearly
black. He is one of the Neri. The Bianchi would have made them partake
more of the colour opposite to that of light, purply brown, broken
with red reflections. The shadows on green objects in the foreground
would be rendered by dark crimson. Sir Thomas Lawrence frequently used
pure lake in the shadows of his grass or shrubs. Plate.




At Sunset there is even less variety of colour observable in the
illumined parts of objects than when the sun is higher in the sky.
This arises from the influence of the atmosphere previously alluded
to. A greater quantity of the medium is loaded with light, and the
local colours of the objects seen through it are consequently affected
to a greater degree thereby. The colour of the light is also affected
by the medium through which it passes, and it becomes much richer, and
more nearly approaching to orange.

The light in the sky, or illuminating power, is made yellow; but the
lights on objects are rendered of a fleshy colour, which is made to
appear warmer by the opposition of positive purple shadows, while
those objects which do not receive any of the sun's light are kept
very cool grey (the effect of reflected light from the blue sky),
which by contrast throws the whole of the illuminated part of the
picture into warmth. Frontispiece.

[Illustration: MOONLIGHT]




The light of the moon being white or silvery grey, the shadows are
made comparatively warm browns. The appearance of moonlight is given
by the colours on the illuminated objects in the picture, which are
made to appear cooler than they really are, by the contrast with the
warm shadows. By this means, much more colour may be introduced into
the light than is usually observed in Nature, and without impairing
the effect of moonlight; and the Bianchi contend that by such means
greater brilliancy is obtained. The blues in the sky near the moon are
kept very pure for the same purpose. Plate.

[Illustration: GREY DAYLIGHT]




Grey daylight also affords brownish shadows, but from the greater
quantity and diffusion of comparatively colourless light, the local
colours of objects become more visible, while the shadows are more
varied by reflection and refraction. Reflections take their colours
from those of the objects by which they are occasioned. The lights on
objects are treated as in the case of moonlight; they are made
_positively_ warmer than they appear in nature, and are rendered
_comparatively_ cool by the warmth of the shadows.--Plate.

*       *       *       *       *

The degrees to which these licences may be carried, must depend upon
the style of colouring adopted. The Amateur has had them placed before
him, and whichever he may choose, he will be certain to meet with
success in the eyes of one party; he cannot hope to please all.


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