Spotlight on Cadmium Orange
Cadmium colours were first discovered as a by-product of zinc production in the 1820s and became more popular in the 1840s when they became more available to artists due to the high cost of the metal in the early days.
Today, colours with cadmium pigments are still important in the artist's palette. Their unique hues, good coverage and high tinting strength are qualities unmatched by any other pigments available, even today. Moreover, they have excellent light-fastness in combination with very high opacity.
Why would artists use alternatives?
Cadmiums are the most popular reds, yellows & oranges in the palette and as artists' colours in normal use, do not present a health hazard to the user. Some painters consider cadmium colours to be harmful and though there has been public concern about cadmium compounds used by other industries and their impact on the environment, it should be noted that cadmium pigments used by Winsor & Newton are practically insoluble.