Field's Chromatography or Treatise on Colours and Pigments as Used by Artists
George Field described how the colour white used as a pigment by artists:
"...is the instrument of light in painting, and compounds when pure with all colours, without changing their class. Yet it dilutes and cools all colours except blue, which is specifically cold; and, though it does not change nor defile any colour, it is changed and defiled by all colours. This pureness of white, if it be not in some degree broken or tinged, will cast down or degrade every other colour in a picture, and itself become harsh and crude. Hence the lowness of tone which has been thought a necessity in painting, but is such only because our other colours do not approach to the purity of white. Had we all necessary colours thus relatively pure as white, colouring in painting might be carried up to the full brilliancy of nature; and, in fact, more progress has already been made in that respect, than the prejudice for dulness is disposed to tolerate."