Red Rainbows


THE account in NATURE, vol. xxiv. p. 431, of a pink rainbow been from Mr. Tennyson's house, recalls to me a rainbow which I witnessed in July 1877 over the Lake of Lucerne from the promenade in front of the Schweitzerhof. The bow in question appeared at sunset, when the whole sky, east and west, was lit up with ruddy tints; and just before it faded out, the bow itself, which was a very brilliant one, showed only red and orange colours in place of its usual array of hues. No fewer than five supernumerary arcs were visible at the inner edge of the primary bow, and these showed red only. I fancy that the phenomenon cannot be very rare, from the circumstance that in pictures of the rainbow red and yellow are frequently the only colours set down by the artist. A few months ago Mr. C. Brooke Branwhite of Clifton showed me a very beautiful sketch in oils by his father, the late Mr. Charles Branwhite, a colourist of no mean power, in which a beautiful and exquisitely pellucid rainbow was drawn with red and yellow tints only. It may also be mentioned that in the copy of Rafael's “Madonna di Foligno” in the Dresden Gallery, there is a semi-circular red and yellow rainbow. I have not seen the original Foligno Madonna in Rome; and should be interested to know whether in this also red and yellow are the only tints accorded by the colourist.

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THOMPSON, S. Red Rainbows. Nature 24, 459 (1881).

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