Re: Color Daguerreotypes?

From: Phillip Murphy ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 01/24/04-07:07:59 PM Z
Message-id: <>

"A Treatise on Heliochromy" is a unique collection of not only the
process of the Hillotype but of fascinating experiments in Alternative
photography. An original copy of the book came into the possession
of William Becker while researching the work of Levi L. Hill.
It was re-printed by the Carnation Press, State College, Penn. 1972.

Levi Hill was well known in Daguerreian circles. He wrote several
books on the Daguerreotype before the "Treatise on Heliochromy". It's true
that he was a Baptist preacher, however, in the time of his experiments
with color photography his primary income was from teaching the
Daguerreian art and portrait sittings. He had several inventions that
brought him income, one was a glass-silvering process that he sold for
$5,000.(1850's dollars) All of his income was poured into his
experimentation. Later, he made his money in Petroleum .

Hill was a great teacher and he understood that simply giving the
formula for the process was not nearly enough to insure success in
it's apprenticeship. The chapters in his book on Heliochromy outline
not only the history of known experiments in the attempt to create
color photography, but a logical progression of experiments using
every possible substance to achieve the aim. It's a compendium of
processes that Hill abandoned but could certainly be explored
by alternative photographic artists. The use of plant juices goes back
to the Anthotype of Sir John Herschel and before.
There is no organic matter used in the Hillotype process; unless one
includes the gutta percha containers for the corrosives.

Full color photography was achieved by Hill in 1852 with exposures
of two seconds. Previous to this, the experiments of Edmund Becquerel,
and those of Niepce de St. Victor obtained limited colors using
exposures of two hours or longer.


Jack Fulton wrote:

> This book was reprinted along with quite a few historical books on
> various aspects of photography. I think it was Beaumont Newhall who was
> behind this republishing of historical works. They are good facsimiles
> of the original editions with adverts intact in the rear. They were
> done by Arno Press which is in NYC I believe.
> Hill's treatise on color came about (again as I remember) through
> years of research. He was primarily a Reverend and dabbled in
> photography and the daguerreotype process. What tickled my fancy was
> that he was taking flowers and natural colored flora, squeezing them to
> obtain their essential juices, and incorporating that in to the
> chemical soup. Apparently the process was very involved. His book is
> long and rambles all over the place but apparently one can follow it
> and obtain similar results.
> My gleaning was that some irony was involved with the chemistry to
> the degree that in photographing a red brick wall it came out rusty in
> coloration etc. Others since then, one, a Professor Boudreau, has
> investigated and managed to obtain results to confirm Rev. HIll'
> 'invention'.
> Jack Fulton
> On Jan 23, 2004, at 2:40 PM, Gregory Popovitch wrote:
> >
> > Levi Hill wrote a book on his color process, which he named the
> > Hillotype. The book's title is "A Treatise on Heliochromy" and
> > has been reprinted, but is still hard to find (but you probably
> > can get it via an inter-library loan).
> And yes I said yes I will YES.
> James Joyce
Received on Sat Jan 24 19:04:54 2004

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