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3. Take Blue, and put it in contact with a greenish-blue, the first will incline to violet, and the second will appear yellower. But put the Blue beside a violet-blue, and the former will incline to green, and the latter will appear redder. So that the same Blue will in one case appear violet, and in the other greenish.
"Thus we perceive," says M. Chevreul, "that the colours which painters term simple or primary-namely, Red, Yellow, and Blue-pass insensibly, by virtue of their juxtaposition, to the state of secondary or compound colours. For the same Red becomes either purple or orange according to the colour placed beside it, the same Yellow becomes either orange or green,-and the same Blue either green or violet."
ground for complaint, M. Chevreul took the cloths, and surrounded the patterns in such a way as to conceal the ground; upon which the designs appeared as black as could be desired. And still further to convince the malcontent drapers, he placed some cuttings of black cloth upon stuffs coloured red, violet, and blue; whereupon the cuttings appeared of the same hue as the printed designs-i.e., of the colour complementary to the ground; although the same cuttings, when placed upon a white ground, were of a beautiful black. In the models of tapestries for furniture we often err in the same way as these drapers did—namely, by neglecting to preserve a contrast between the ground and the dominant colour of the subjects placed upon it. For instance, if it is a crimson ground, ornamented with a wreath of flowers, the greater part of the flowers ought to be blue, yellow, and white. If we place red flowers upon such a ground, they will tend to become orange rather than purple, and ought to have a fringe of green leaves contiguous to the ground. On the contrary, when the ground is of a greenish hue, red and rose-coloured flowers must predominate over the others;—and when the ground is of the hue of dead leaves, the blue, violet, white, and rose flowers detach themselves completely.
It is important that painters should understand this Law of Contrast in colouring. Suppose, for instance, a painter have to imitate two contiguous stripes of red and blue upon a white ground. He perceives them changed in hue, by the mutual effect of each upon the other, the red becoming more and more orange as it approaches the blue, and the latter more and more green as it approaches the red; but if he understands the law of contrast, he will know at once how to treat the illusion, and will produce the true effect by making his stripes respectively of a simple blue and a simple red, reduced in some parts by light or by shade. Whereas, if he does not understand the secret of the illusion, he will proceed to paint the stripes of a greenish-blue and yellowish-red, and so produce a false and exaggerated effect, from not knowing that the greenish and yellowish hues
Ignorance of this law of contrast has given rise to many a dispute between drapers and manufacturers. M. Chevreul had several instances of this in his own experience. Certain drapers, he tells us, having given to a calicoprinter some cloths of a single colour -red, violet, and blue-upon which they wished black figures to be printed, complained that upon the red cloths he had put green patterns, upon the violet cloths greenish-yellow ones, and upon the blue orange-brown or copper-coloured ones, instead of the black figures which had been ordered. To convince them that they had no
of the stripes are merely the result of red and blue coming together, and that they will reproduce themselves on his canvass if he makes the one stripe simple red and the other simple blue.
Another point which it is most important that artists should bear in mind is, that if, after working long at one part of a picture, they turn their eyes to another part, that other part will not appear of its own colour, but of a hue resulting from a blending of the complementary colour of the first part of the picture with the actual colour of the second. For instance, if they have been painting a lady's red mantle, and then turn to look at the face, the complexion will appear of a greenish hue, which if the artist ignorantly reproduce on his canvass, he will most grievously sin against the truth, and deservedly earn the grievous displeasure of his fair sitter. In truth, so important is it to thoroughly understand the action of the "accidental colours," that it is a fact that even artists who are gifted with a fine eye for colour will produce poor effects if they make their sittings too long at a time. An ignorance of this law, and a habit of long sittings (things which generally go together, for no one who understands the former will indulge in the latter), will produce even with naturally fine colourists a colouring dull and inferior to that of artists who, though less finely organised, give way more to first impressions; or in other words, who take in the impression of the model more rapidly, before their eye has had time to become fatigued, and who do not too frequently return to their work to modify it, to efface, and to repaint, a process which infallibly produces a poor effect, and makes the colouring "muddled." It is good for artists, then, as well as for other men, to know to "let well alone;" and by some members of the profession we know, the maxim is much needed.
lour is most gorgeous and abundant. These are the native climes of the sapphire, the diamond, and the emerald,-of sunsets unspeakably gorgeous, and of night-skies through the azure of whose transparent depths the eye wanders upwards until it loses itself as if on the threshold of other worlds. The savannahs there are covered with perennial flowers; the pillared forests are linked in a maze of beauty by the scarlet and other brilliant blossoms of the trailers that hang in festoons from tree to tree; and the green mantle of earth flashes everywhere into colours beneath the flood of sunshine which keeps all nature a-pulsing to the rhythm of its subtle and inconceivably rapid vibrations. Colour, like its parent light, dies away towards the Poles; and as the constitution of nations is ever in harmony with the region where they dwell, the susceptibility of us hyperboreans to colour is far inferior to that of the race who produce the magic dyes of India, or the still nobler one who built the glowing walls of the Alhambra. Even our next-door neighbours the French beat us hollow in the art and use of colour; and we do not think we overstate the case when we say, that there is no civilised people on the earth who do not equal or excel us in a taste and passion for colour.
We do not generally make a sufficient use of colour as a beautifier of our dwellings. This is partly owing to the fact that the physical organisation of northern nations is not so susceptible to the impressions of colour as is that of southern nations, even though these latter be intellectually our inferiors. It is in tropical countries, where light is most dazzling, that co
We are too fond of paleness, colourlessness, in our interiors. We shrink from bright colours, because we do not know how to use them, and believe we show taste when we have produced an effect which is simply commonplace. With M. Chevreul for our guide, let us offer a word or two upon this subject. We shall begin with the more grand and artistic parts of a mansion, and then come quickly down to remarks which may be as interesting to the single gentleman with his triplet of rooms in the Temple, as to the more stately occupants of palatial edifices. Enter a gallery of sculpture, and see what hints about colour there suggest themselves. Here we have our old friend the Venus de Medici-showing the perfection of physical beauty, but with as little as possible of the divine either in her head or attitude. Next to her, in not uncongenial contiguity, is Dan
necker's Ariadne on the Panther-exhibiting a voluptuousness of position, combined with an exquisite charm in the undulating contour of the picturesquely posed figure. Here also is Kiess's Amazon in bronze-by no means a material for representing the soft figures of the female sex, but appropriate in this case, owing to the greater part of the composition being occupied by the rearing horse and attacking wild-beast, and to the circumstance of the attitude of the female rider representing nothing but masculine energy and daring. Finally, we shall say, we have that divinest of statues, the Apollo Belvidere, in which life and noble power ray from every limb. Now, if those various pieces of sculpture are placed together, of course they must all be viewed against the same background-namely, that of the wall of the room in which they stand. But suppose-in order to bring out the peculiar qualities of various colours as backgrounds-it were proposed to us to take each of these sculptures by itself, and assign to it a wall of such a colour as would show it off to the best advantage. Then we would remark, in the first place, that whatever may be the case when a piece of cloth is hung immediately around a statue, the walls of a gallery must be considered as giving rise to effects, not of reflection, but of contrast. Accordingly, it will be found that statues of white marble or stone, as well as plaster casts, stand out well in a gallery whose walls are of a pearly-grey colour. But suppose we wish to attain effects not generally aimed at, with the several pieces of sculpture above named-then it will be found that if you place the Venus de Medici against a wall of blue-grey, the statue of the Cyprian goddess forthwith acquires a warm colour, which many sculptors prize so highly. Take the Ariadne, and place her in a room painted green, and forthwith the deserted of Bacchus flushes all over with a faint rosy tint, such as she is seen in her chamber at Frankfort, where the light is let in upon her through rose-coloured glass. For the divine Apollo, such tinting would be inadmissible. He must stand forth in the simple majesty of pure white; and in order to produce this effect, the colour of the wall should be cha
mois or orange-grey, which tends to neutralise any redness of hue in the marble or plaster of the statue. As to the tone of colour used upon the walls, cæteris paribus, it ought to be lower the brighter we wish the sculptures to be. Finally, coming to deal with Kiess's Amazon, and bronzes in general, it must be remembered that the metallic alloy of which they are composed yields two very different tints,-one green, which the metal acquires by exposure to the action of the atmosphere; the other the peculiar golden tint which it possesses when not oxidised. If we wish to heighten this green tint, the colour of the walls of the gallery must be red; while, if we wish to bring out the golden tint of the bronze, the walls must be blue.
Let us turn now to a picture-gallery. Here the first thing that strikes us is, how badly paintings look when thus crowded together. Even supposing that they have been arranged by a man of taste, and that they are not too numerous to compel him frequently to do violence to his artistic feelings, still the ubiquitous melange of colour, and the dazzling headachy effect of the multitude of gilt frames produces an impression upon the spectator by no means favourable to his appreciation of the pictures. In truth, it is only the intelligent connoisseur who, in such a case, can experience the effect which the artist has wished to produce; and this he does, not only by knowing the best point of view, but by fixing his attention so wholly upon the work as to be unconscious of the surrounding pictures, or even of the very frame. In fact, frames in general are no better than necessary evils; for, if they are requisite to isolate a picture from surrounding objects, yet it must be confessed that the contiguity of the frame to the picture is exceedingly detrimental to the illusion of perspective. It is this which explains the difference between the effect of a framed picture, and the effect of the same picture when viewed through an opening which allows of our seeing neither frame nor limits. The effect then produced recalls all the illusion of the diorama. In the case of not a few pictures, taste is best shown in knowing how little frame is necessary. The colour of the wall,
and nature of surrounding objects, must be considered in judging of this. We once saw a painting by a German artist, representing the interior of a Gothic ruin, with a snowy landscape visible through the open archway of the door, and some snow, drifted in, lying upon the steps and stone-floor inside. The perspective was exquisite, magical; and the drifted snow upon the steps and floor seemed as if you could lift it off with a knife. The picture was in the possession of an able connoisseur-and how had he treated it? Most people would have put round it a frame proportionate in value to the value of the picture: that seems to be the usual way,-so many inches of frame to a £20 picture, and so many more to one worth £100. Not so did this connoisseur. When we saw it, this gem of a painting had round it a simple narrow bead of gilding, and was hung upon a wall of an orange-cream colour-the unobtrusive frame allowing the exquisite perspective to appear to advantage, while the peculiar colour of the wall served to bring out, in all its brilliance, that other fine point in the piece, the snow.
With this warning against having too much frame-which we cannot, of course, shape into any definite axiom, but which will answer the purpose if it makes people think at all upon the subject-we proceed to consider the relation of colour which ought to exist between a frame and the picture which it surrounds. Gilt frames are, of all others, the handsomest and most generally applicable, and are especially suited for large paintings in oil. There is but one exception to the use of gilt frames, and that arises when the picture represents gildings, at least if so near the frame as to provoke the eye to compare the painted gold with the metal itself. For instance, there is a Gobelins tapestry, after Laurent, representing a genii, armed with a torch, near which is a gilt altar; but the yellow silk and wool in which this altar are executed, are entirely eclipsed by the gilt bronzes profusely spread over the mahogany frame by which the tapestry is enclosed. Bronze frames, on the contrary, which have but little yellow brilliancy, do not injure the effect of an oil-painting which repre
sents a scene lighted by artificial light, such as that of candles, torches, a conflagration, &c. When black frames, such as ebony, detach themselves sufficiently from an oil-painting, they are favourable to large subjects; but when they are used, it is necessary to see if the contiguous browns of the painting or drawing do not lose too much of their vigour. Many landscape-paintings in oil are well set off by a grey frame, particularly if we take a grey tinted with the complementary (or opposite) of the dominant colour of the picture. For black engravings and lithographs, gilt frames suit perfectly, provided a certain breadth of white paper be left round the subject. Frames of yellow wood, such as bird'seye maple, &c., likewise accord well with lithographs; and it is possible greatly to modify the appearance of the drawing by mounting it on tinted paper, when we do not desire the effect of a white margin.
As to the hanging of pictures in a room, we only repeat the general canon when we say, that engravings and plain lithographs should not be placed beside oil-paintings or coloured drawings. When we wish to place pictures upon a papered wall, the latter ought to be of a single colour, if possible-if not, of two tones of the same colour-and with a simple pattern. Also, the dominant colour of the paper-hangings ought to be complementary to the dominant colour of the picture. Pearl-grey, or normal grey a little deeper, is a good tint to receive engravings and plain lithographs in gilt or yellow-wood frames. Yellow hangings can receive with advantage landscapes in which greensward, and leaves, and a blue sky, predominate; and the most suitable frames in this case are those of violetcoloured ebony (palixandre), or wood painted grey or black. Oil-paintings, in gilt frames, are effective on walls of olive-grey; upon which ground the flesh-colours of the picture, and the gold of the frame, assort well. Papers of a deep green, and even of a deep blue, may likewise be advantageously employed in many cases. We know one artist, whose drawing-room wall, covered with oil-paintings in gilt frames, has a flock-paper of deep green, the velvet pattern being of
nearly equal extent with the smooth ground, but of a darker shade. The effect is very good. Had it been a picture-gallery, the paper would have been unquestionably better if of a perfectly uniform colour; but by having it patterned, and of two shades of the same colour, the requirements of a drawing-room are answered with the least possible detriment to the effect of the pictures.
So much for the mechanical accessories of the Fine Arts, whether these be exhibited in a noble gallery, or in the houses of our middle-class. In coming to the furniture of our dwellings, it must be confessed that, so innumerable are the possible combinations of colour, it is impossible to lay down many laws of general application. In large rooms, bright contrasting colours may be employed; whereas in small rooms, the harmony should be not of contrast, but of analogy;-in other words, the furniture of small rooms should, in general, have but one predominant colour, and the contrasts exhibited be only those of tone. On this principle, hangings with varied and brilliant colours, representing flowers, birds, human figures, landscapes, &c., may be employed in the decorating of large rooms; whereas chintzes are only suitable to small rooms, such as cabinets, boudoirs, &c. In bed-rooms, the windowcurtains and those of the bed should be similar; and if there be a divan, it may be similar also; for we may remark, that it is conformable with the object of boudoirs and similar places, to diminish their extent to the eye, by employing only one material for the hangings and chairs, instead of seeking to fix the eye upon many separate objects.
Of hangings-and our remarks are almost equally applicable to the general tone of a room-we may say, that in consequence of an apartment never being too light, (since we can diminish the day-light by means of blinds and curtains,) it is best that the hangings be of a light and not of a dark colour, so that they may reflect light rather than absorb it. Dark hangings, therefore, are proscribed, whatever be their colour. Red curtains are to be met with very frequently in this country; yet it must be said that red and
violet, even in their light tones, ought to be proscribed, because they are exceedingly unfavourable to the colour of the skin. Orange can never be much employed, it fatigues the eye so much by its intensity; and, indeed, among the simple colours there is scarcely any which are advantageous, except yellow, and the light tones of green and blue. Yellow is lively, and combines well with mahogany furniture, but not generally with gilding. Light-green is favourable, both to gilding and to mahogany, and also to complexions, whether pale or rosy. Light-blue is less favourable than green to rosy complexions, especially in daylight: it is particularly favourable to gilding-associates better than green, with yellow or orange-coloured woods
and does not injure mahogany. White hangings-or hangings of a light grey, either normal, or tinged with green, blue, or yellow-uniform, or with velvet patterns, similar in colour to the ground, are also good for use.
In regard to the draping of floors, it must be borne in mind, that for a carpet to produce the best possible effect, it is not enough that it is of the best manufacture, and of excellent colours and pattern: it is also requisite that its pattern be in harmony with the size, and its colours with the decorations of the room. It is important for manufacturers to know how to produce carpets which will suit well with many different styles of room furniture; and, in our opinion, the best mode of attaining this end is, to make the light and bright colouring commence from the centre of the carpet; for it is there (that is to say, in the part most distant from the chairs, hangings, &c.) that we can employ vivid and strongly-contrasted colours without inconvenience. And if we surround this bright central portion with an interval of subdued colouring, we shall be able to give to the framing colours (those around the margin of the carpet) a great appearance of brilliance, without injuring the colour of the chairs and hangings. With respect to the carpets of small or moderatelysized rooms, we may lay down the rule, that the more numerous and vivid the colours of the furniture, the more simple should be the carpet alike