James Sowerby (21 March 1757 – 25 October 1822) was an English naturalist and illustrator. His 1809 book ‘A new elucidation of colours, original, prismatic, and material showing their concordance in three primitives, yellow, red, and blue; and the means of producing, measuring, and mixing them. With some observations on the accuracy of Sir Isaac Newton‘ (entirely viewable online at Archive.org), was an homage to Isaac Newton and presented a theory of colour based on the importance of ‘light and dark’. The theory was based on three basic colours: red, yellow and blue. Yellow, or better, gamboge, was later replaced by green in modern colour systems.
Here’s some illustrated plates from the essay.
(Via Data is Nature)