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Colour has proven to be a very powerful feature for image indexing. Many examples of image retrieval systems based on colour or chromaticity histograms have been proposed, following on from the histogram intersection method of Swain and Ballard. Here the authors introduce a compact representation of the chromaticity histogram which is based on the Padua point interpolation technique. Specifically, the histogram is represented as a linear combination of Chebyshev polynomials. This bounds a certain maximum deviation, as opposed to a least-squares criterion used in previous work. With this in mind, the minimisation of different Lp norms and the L∞ norm of the error is compared.