Johann Heinrich Lambert was a Swiss polymath presented the first three dimensional colour system in the form of a pyramid. He layered the darker tones at the centre flowing out to three primary hues, labelled as ‘cinnibar, King’s yellow and azurite’. The layers increase in brightness, eventually fading to white at the top. Lambert designed his system to aid textile dyers and printers select colours and as a representation to textile merchants of the colours that they might stock. His system is subtrative because the primary colours are red, yellow and blue and cover pigment mixing.

Cinnibar is scarlet red

King’s yellow is golden yellow

Azurite is a royal blue