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HomeContentsThemes > Retouching, colouring and painting kits

Contents

819.01   Introduction to painting on photographs
819.02   Nineteenth century photograph colouring kits
819.03   Frederick Langenheim: Patents for Coloring Daguerreotype Plates
819.04   Felice Beato: My artists
819.05   Nineteenth century Japanese artists and colourists
819.06   John Thomson: A Chinese portrait artist, Hong Kong
This theme includes example sections and will be revised and added to as we proceed. Suggestions for additions, improvements and the correction of factual errors are always appreciated. 
  
Status: Collect > Document > Analyse > Improve
 
  
819.01   Equipment >  Introduction to painting on photographs 
  
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From the earliest days of photography with daguerreotypes and salt prints artists have used them either as the basis for works of art or have painted directly on them using a vast range of techniques and specialized equipment including air brushes and retouching, colouring and painting kits[1] 
  
819.02   Equipment >  Nineteenth century photograph colouring kits 
  
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819.03   Equipment >  Frederick Langenheim: Patents for Coloring Daguerreotype Plates 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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In January 1846 an American Patent was issued to Frederick Langenheim of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for a method in colouring daguerreotype plates:
22. For an Improvement in Coloring Daguerreotype Plates, by fixing the Colors thereon; Frederick Langenheim, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 30.
 
The patentee says, "In the invention of Isenring, for coloring plates, for which letters patent have been obtained, a difficulty arose in making the colors adhere, and it was found in practice that after a little handling, the color came off, and the picture was thus defaced. To remedy that defect is the object of my improvement.
 
"Either before the plate receives the color, or at the same time, I cause an impalpable powder of gum damarum,or other suitable resinous gum, to cover the parts to be colored, in the manner described in the patent granted to me as the assignee of Isenring, viz: by placing the plate in a close vessel, face up, with those parts covered that are not to be colored, and then filling the atmosphere contained in said vessel with the powder of gums above named, and allowing a sufficient quantity to settle, for the purpose intended : after the color is laid on the plates I submit it to a sufficient degree of heat to fuse the gum, which causes the color to adhere."
 
Claim. "Having thus fully described my improvement, what I claim therein as new and desire to secure by letters patent, is fixing the colors on the plates by means of gum, applied substantially in the manner and for the purpose set forth."
 
"23. For an Improvement in Coloring Daguerreotype Plates", American Patents, Journal of the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania, and American Repository, February, 1847, p.105-106. Patent was issued in January, 1846.
 
23. For an Improvement in Coloring Daguerreotype Plates; John B. Isenring, of Switzerland, assigned to Frederick Langenheim, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 30.
 
The patentee says, "The nature of my invention consists in coloring a daguerreotype picture by agitating a quantity of highly pulverized mineral, or other suitable color in a box, and then placing in said box the plate to be colored, having only such parts exposed as are to receive the color, the rest being covered by a stencil or other similar device, where it remains until the color settles upon it in sufficient quantities."
 
Claim. "What I claim as my invention and desire to secure by letters patent, is the process of depositing the color thereon, substantially as herein described, by causing the finely pulverized particles of color to float in the air over where the plate is placed, which, as they settle, are deposited on the uncovered portions of the plate, in the manner and for the purpose herein described.
 
"I also claim, in combination therewith, covering the picture with a stencil, as set forth, constructed in the manner and for the purpose described."[2]
 
  
819.04   Equipment >  Felice Beato: My artists 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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819.05   Equipment >  Nineteenth century Japanese artists and colourists 
  
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From as early as the eighth century woodblock-printed works were seen in Japan. Although initially the technique was used for texts and religious works by the sixteenth century moveable type was being used. Gaining popularity with artists the technique expanded and individual prints became available. With the popularity for prints there became a need for artists who could paint them or had the skills to use multiple woodblocks for different colours. As photography became available within Japan, predominantly with foreign photographers such as Felice Beato[3] and Baron Raimund von Stillfried, most of the prints through the second half of the nineteenth century had the brownish tones of the albumen print. Their skills with woodblock prints were perfect for painting photographs and some of the finest photographs of this type came from Japan
  
819.06   Equipment >  John Thomson: A Chinese portrait artist, Hong Kong 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
  
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John Thomson in his travel volume Illustrations of China and Its People, a Series of Two Hundred Photographs with Letterpress Description of the Places and People Represented (1873-1874) gives an account of a Chinese artist who was highly skilled in painting on photographs and creating artwork of an enlarged size based on a photograph:
A Hong-Kong Artist
 
Lumqua was a Chinese pupil of Chinnery, a noted foreign artist, who died at Macao in 1852. Lumqua produced a number of excellent works in oil, which are still copied by the painters in Hong-Kong and Canton. Had he lived in any other country he would have been the founder of a school of painting. In China his followers have failed to grasp the spirit of his art. They drudge with imitative servile toil, copying Lumqua's or Chinnery's pieces, or anything, no matter what, just because it has been finished and paid for within a given time, and at so much a square foot. There are a number of painters established in Hong-Kong, but they all do the same class of work, and have about the same tariff of prices, regulated according to the dimensions of the canvas. The occupation of these limners consists mainly of making enlarged copies of photographs. Each house employs a touter, who scours the shipping in the harbour with samples of the work, and finds many ready customers among the foreign sailors. These bargain to have Mary or Susan painted on as large a scale and at as small a price as possible, the work to be delivered framed and ready for sea probably within twenty-four hours. The painters divide their labour on the following plan. The apprentice confines himself to bodies and hands, while the master executes the physiognomy, and thus the work is got through with wonderful speed. Attractive colours are freely used; so that Jack's fair ideal appears at times in a sky-blue dress, over which a massive gold chain and other articles of jewellery are liberally hung. These pictures would be fair works of art were the drawing good, and the brilliant colours properly arranged; but all the distortions of the badly taken photographs are faithfully reproduced on an enlarged scale. The best works these painters do are pictures of native and foreign ships, which are wonderfully drawn. To enlarge a picture they draw squares over their canvas corresponding to the smaller squares into which they divide the picture to be copied. The miniature painters in Hong-Kong and Canton do some work on ivory that is as fine as the best ivory painting to be found among the natives of India, and fit to bear comparison with the old miniature painting of our own country, which photography has, now-a-days, in great measure superseded.[4]
 
  

Footnotes 
  
  1. Λ An indication of the commercial potential of tinting and painting early photographs is provided by the taking out of patents to ensure protection over the processes involved. Early examples include:
    "To Richard Beard, of Earl-street, Blackfriars, Gent., for improvements in the means of obtaining likenesses and representations of nature, and of other objects, being a communication. [Sealed 10th March, 1842.]", The London Journal and Repository of Arts, Sciences, and Manufactures, Conjoined Series, no. CXXXII, Recent Patents, 1843, pp. 358-360.
     
    "22. For an Improvement in Coloring Daguerreotype Plates, by fixing the Colors thereon; Frederick Langenheim, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 30." American Patents, Journal of the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania, and American Repository, February, 1847, p. 105. Patent was issued in January, 1846.
     
      
  2. Λ February, 1847, "22. For an Improvement in Coloring Daguerreotype Plates, by fixing the Colors thereon", American Patents, Journal of the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania, and American Repository, p. 105. Patent was issued in January, 1846. 
      
  3. Λ Felice Beato is one of the most interesting peripatetic photographers of the nineteenth century - Anne Lacoste, 2010, Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road, (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum); John Clark, John Fraser & Colin Osman, 1989, A Chronology of Felix (Felice) Beato, (Privately printed by the authors) 
      
  4. Λ John Thomson, 1873-1874, Illustrations of China and Its People, a Series of Two Hundred Photographs with Letterpress Description of the Places and People Represented, 4 vols. (London: Sampson Low, Marston Low, and Searle, 1873 [vols. 1 and 2] and 1874 [vols. 3 and 4]) 
      

alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  
 
  
HomeThe business of photographyEquipment > Retouching, colouring and painting kits 
 
A wider gazeRelated topics 
  
Art 
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Painting on photographs 
 
  

HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > Retouching, colouring and painting kits

Please submit suggestions for Online Exhibitions that will enhance this theme.
Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  
ThumbnailPainting on photographs: A 19th Century perspective 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Improved (November 3, 2010)
ThumbnailPainting on photographs: Supporting materials 
Title | Lightbox | Checklist
Improved (October 28, 2010)
 
  

HomeVisual indexes > Retouching, colouring and painting kits

Please submit suggestions for Visual Indexes to enhance this theme.
Alan - alan@luminous-lint.com

 
  
   Photographer 
  
ThumbnailFrederick Langenheim: Patents for Coloring Daguerreotype Plates 
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer 
 
 
  
   Equipment and supplies 
  
ThumbnailRetouching and painting desks 
ThumbnailRetouching, colouring and painting kits 
 
  
   Still thinking about these... 
  
ThumbnailJapan: Japanese artists and colorists 
 
 
  
Refreshed: 24 August 2014, 15:26
 
  
 
  
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