’Colour: its meaning and use, logic, mystery, symbolism and power’ was the title of a BBC radio broadcast talk given by Wilson in May 1920. Although Colour Wheel shows an awareness of Chevreul’s colour theories, its broader symbolism might equally relate to the void left by the war and the power of renewal as suggested by the continuous form of a circle.
His paintings were much studied by art students of the period, and were part of a wider discourse that was taking place at the time, led by intellectual luminaries such as James Wood. Exploring colour harmony was central to Wilson’s work and a subject on which he wrote and lectured.
In his introduction to R.A.Wilson’s Exhibition of Paintings and Colour Studies, that took place at the Guild of Decorators’ Syndicate, London, in May 1922, James Wood stated, somewhat prophetically: ‘Great advances were made by the artists of the last generation in the treatment of form and colour; it is doubtful whether the twentieth century will not be marked by certain discoveries.’