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Roy Osborne is a painter, educator, historian, and writer on colour. As a student in Brighton, he studied graphic design and then fine art painting and printmaking. He taught lithography at Brighton Polytechnic (with Harvey Daniels), Bradford College of Art (with Ian Colverson), and the Slade School, London (with Stanley Jones), before intensifying his interests in colour and visual perception, and publishing Lights and Pigments: Colour Principles for Artists in 1980. In 1994 he was awarded an MA(London) in Art and Design in Education. As an artist, he has participated in 150 group shows in Britain and abroad, and over half a dozen solo shows. He has paintings and prints in over 100 private collections and several public collections. In a dozen series of mostly abstract paintings since 1980, he has explored colour theory, colour contrasts, optical colour mixture, and illusions of depth in works that typically integrate straight or curved divisions of a square, figure-ground ambiguity, formal symmetry, colour asymmetry, and illusory opacity and transparency. 

Though keenly interested in abstraction in art, his inspiration comes partly from heraldry and historical books on colour theory. In 2003 he became the first recipient of the Turner Medal of the Colour Group (Great Britain), and in 2019 became the first recipient of the Medal for Colour in Art, Design and Environment of the International Colour Association (AIC CADE). As an educator he has taught studio art, design, colour theory and art history at over 200 institutions worldwide. His later publications include Color Influencing Form, expanded as The Color Coursebook for Art Teachers and Students and Books on Colour 1495-2025: History and Bibliography, plus original translations of Renaissance publications on colour symbolism by Jean Courtois, Gilles Corrozet, Antonio Telesio and Fulvio Pellegrino Morato, collectively published as Renaissance Colour Symbolism: Primary Sources. He has additionally published magazine articles, curated an exhibition on colour in British painting (1989), and contributed to colour-theory books edited (1991-2017) by Augustin Hope, Susan Berry, Don Pavey, Tom Porter, Alexandra Loske, Janet Best and Ronnier Luo.

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