A target's apparent colour is influenced by the colours in its surrounding. If the surrounding consists of a single coloured surface, the influence is a shift 'away' from the surface's colour. If the surface is more than 1degrees from the target area the shift is very small. If there are many surfaces, then not only the average luminance and chromaticity of the surfaces matters, but also the chromatic variability. It is not yet clear whether it makes any difference where the chromatic variability is within the scene, so we constructed stimuli in which the chromatic variability was restricted to certain regions. We found that it made very little difference where the chromatic variability was located. The extent to which the average colour of nearby surfaces influences the apparent colour of the target seems to depend on the average chromatic variability of the whole scene. (C) 2003 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.