Cadmiums

Where would our understanding of late 19th century art be without the invention of the cadmium colours?

The Impressionists devoured this range of previously unseen bright opaque primaries to build their vibrant, colour-charged immediate interpretations of the world around them.

The name cadmium comes from the Latin cadmia, meaning calamine.

Cadmium Yellow is formulated from cadmium sul de. Discovered in 1817, production of the cadmium yellow pigments was delayed until about 1820 because of the scarcity of the metal ore.

They can be made into various shades ranging from a lemon yellow through to deep orange depending on the size of the pigment grains in the manufacture process. The deeper hues are known to have better lightfastness.

Far more stable than the lead-chromates they replaced, their use in 19th and 20th century art cannot be underestimated.

They has very high hiding power and good permanence although are susceptible to moisture so there use in exterior application is not recommended.