I don't know about all of you but pictures like this make me feel a bit queasy.
All that comes to mind is hour after hour of double Physics lessons with Miss Southern. One of those memorable teachers, very very tall and wiry, played the double bass in the school orchestra (properly with a bow and everything, not twanging the strings and twirling the thing around on its spike) and cruelly we called her The GPO Tower. She really was very tall indeed.
Physics never fired me with enthusiasm nor did I ever understood these diagrams and still don't so it could all have been enough for me to close up Patrick Trevor-Roper's book The World Through Blunted Sight published by Souvenir Press, very quickly indeed. I'm glad I didn't because it was a fascinating read and led me to ask the irrelevant question of just about everyone I know, "Do you dream in colour?"
Most have had to stop and think and very few people seem to have given it much thought in the past, I certainly still can't decide and Patrick Trevor-Roper suggests the evidence shows that "recognition of dream-colours is relatively rare". A full and fascinating explanation of it all to be had in the book.
Written by a consultant opthalmologist (and brother of Hugh) with a love of art, here is a fascinating study of how visual defects affected many painters, sculptors, poets and writers throughout history and was thus reflected in their work in a variety of ways.
None of it had ever occurred to me before and so every chapter a revelation.Short and long-sight would obviously have an impact on an artist's work, astigmatism too very likely to distort the final image.Paintings re-photographed through correcting lenses suddenly look strangely correctly proportioned.
Patrick Trevor-Roper makes some interesting suggestions, was Constable colour blind? His fondness for autumn tints may indicate that he was.
Was Impressionism the result of a generation of short-sighted artists?
Interestingly how do colour blind writers describe colour accurately with such a limited palette available? Or perhaps they are just very vague about it?
The World Through Blunted Sight one of those books that takes you way off the beaten reading track,a first-rate diversion from standard fare here and now I'm armed with those amazingly unhelpful little nuggets to drop into conversations,
"Did you know that Albrecht Durer had a divergent squint inherited from his mother?"
"Did you know that squirrels, dogs and horses may possess a modicum of colour-discrimination but bulls definitely can't see red?"
"Did you know the male Australian Bower bird spends weeks creating a blue nest to woo his mate?"
And of course "Do you dream in colour?"