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Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof Tom McLeish

Smithson, Hannah E., Dinkova-Bruun, Greti, Gasper, Giles E. M., Huxtable, Mike, McLeish, Tom C. B. & Panti, Cecilia (2012). A three-dimensional color space from the 13th century. Journal of the Optical Society of America A 29(2): A346-A352.

Author(s) from Durham


We present a new commentary on Robert Grosseteste’s De colore, a short treatise that dates from the early 13th century, in which Grosseteste constructs a linguistic combinatorial account of color. In contrast to other commentaries (e.g., Kuehni & Schwarz, Color Ordered: A Survey of Color Order Systems from Antiquity to the Present, 2007, p. 36), we argue that the color space described by Grosseteste is explicitly three-dimensional. We seek the appropriate translation of Grosseteste’s key terms, making reference both to Grosseteste’s other works and the broader intellectual context of the 13th century, and to modern color spaces.