Joslin Hall Rare Books

Curious, Unusual, Interesting & Occasionally Useful Books of the 16th-20th Centuries exploring the skills, trades, lives and ways of other times...

 Saturday, December 16, 2017

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Chevreul, M.E.
The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colours, and Their Applications to the Arts.

London Henry G. Bohn: 1859. 3rd ed.

The importance of Michel-Eugene Chevreul's book on color theory to the 19th century art world cannot be overestimated, and his influence on the Impressionists and Neo-Impressionists is well documented. Oddly, Chevreul was not himself an artist, but a chemist, twice President of the Academie des Sciences, and Director of the dye-works at the famous Gobelins tapestry manufactory. It was while there that he was confronted with problems with the matching of colors in the weaving process, problems that were not due to the yarns or dyes themselves. Chevreul discovered that the problem was that the weavers were perceiving colors differently in isolation than when viewed together during the weaving, and thus the foundations of modern color theory were born. In 1839 he published his findings in France, and the book went into numerous editions and translations in subsequent decades. This 1859 edition was translated from the French by Charles Martel, and was the first complete English edition and the best translation of this great and important work. This edition, unlike some later ones, did not include color plates for the simple reason that the publisher estimated to make them would triple the price of the book and keep it out of the hands of many who had need of it.

Hardcover. 5"x7.5", xxvii + 403 pages, 4 double-page b/w plates, one with a folding volvelle publisher's red blindstamped cloth, gilt title covers a bit worn and rubbed, front hinge tender, but overall a nice copy.

Inventory #: 9930
Price: $ 300.00      

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