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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

Art Processes

Art Processes.

Instantaneous photography, of a reliable character, has long been a desideratum. Portrait painters and photographers know, only too well, what an infinity of expression will flit over the face of a sitter, and the difficulty they sometimes experience in securing just that look which makes the picture a successful and pleasing one. English scientists have recently reported a new discovery, by means of which they have fairly revolutionised photography, and have enabled the operator to catch even the most fleeting expression, and to produce absolutely instantaneous pictures. On reading of this new method, Mr Cherrill set to work, and thought out for himself the details of the process. He exhibits a series of resulting pictures, and wonderfully good they are. The photographer has photographed himself, and perpetuated for us that variety of facial distortion which is supposed to make people grow fat, but which evidently does not do so in all cases. But of this process generally it will be noticed that the great charm is the really natural look of the faces. The sitters have, as a matter of fact, been unconscious at the particular moment that they were "being photo-graphed," and therefore they "looked like themselves." A description of the new process would occupy too much space to be given now, but it may be explained that the preparation of gun cotton known as collodion is dispensed with, and that instead of it a film of gelatine is used. Further, of the iodide and bromide of potash formerly used as sensitising agents, the former is dropped out. The bromide alone, acting in conjunction with the specially prepared gelatine, is twenty times more sensitive to light than the collodion, and hence the wonderfully natural portraits. Mr Cherrill also exhibits some of the beautiful carbon photographs on porcelain, and various other kinds, together with some choice examples of the after work on photographs in chalk, water colour, or oil. Photographic portraits, some of them exquisitively finished, are shown by Mr Schourup, and examples of portraits in oil on photographic backgrounds are contributed by Mr Cambridge and Mr T. Satchell.

Electroplating and electrotyping are well illustrated by Mr S. Papprill. The former process is the deposition of silver upon other metallic surfaces by galvanic electricity, and in the latter process copper is the deposited metal. The exhibits include examples of gilding on iron, steel and brass, and they are made sufficiently comprehensive to demonstrate the wide range of application given by this species of electric action. Some of the copies of fern fronds, medals, and bas-reliefs are very good.

Optical instruments are shown by Mr T. R. Procter, who in addition to his display of lenses of every conceivable kind, exhibits some of the crude material employed, and gives practical illustrations of the grinding and polishing processes. In the show cases there are some fine specimens of rock and quartz crystal, and the extreme clearness of the lenses produced therefrom proves that Mr Procter is a true optician. It may perhaps, be well to state the fact, that every article shown by Mr Procter has been manufactured by him, with the exception of the artificial eyes.

The workers in the precious metals make imposing displays. The most valuable collection is that shown by Messrs Coates and Co, who stand unrivalled for the production of articles in gold and enamel. They show the splendid gold service, made for presentation on a recent memorable occasion to the Most Reverend the Primate, but their richest items are those in gold and enamel. Nothing more beautiful in design and colouring, or more perfect in workmanship, could well be conceived, than the collection of Masonic jewels, made for presentation at various times and now lent to the firm for exhibition. The enamelling, which seems capable of embodying all the most beautiful colours, is in itself an art of the highest order, and it is gratifying to find that it has been so fully developed here. In other ways, Messrs Coates and Co. show us the most perfect workmanship, based upon designs that would be creditable to any firm in the world. Silver work is best illustrated by Messrs B. Petersen and Co., who appear to have made this metal their speciality, They show a small block of the quartz found in the Thames district, and a lump of the mixture of gold and silver obtained therefrom. There are other progress specimens, including a lump of pure silver, a sheet of the metal ready for modelling, and the parts of a vase as they appear before polishing or engraving. All the articles in the case have been made page 24 from Thames silver. They include the fine cup recently made for the Agricultural and Pastoral Association as the Merchants' Prize; this, and other cups or vases being exquisitely engraved in imitation of fronds of the more delicate ferns. Mr Sandstein is also an exhibitor of jewellery, his items being noticeable more especially for the diamond and crystal work, and for the ornaments in hair.

The engravings on glass by Mr A. Milne, exhibited by McClenahan and Co. (late Matheson Bros.), of Cashel street, have been commented upon in these columns in terms of the warmest commendation. Amongst these pictures on glass included in the Industrial Exhibition, there is an unusually large one, representing an episode of Waterloo, and entitled, "The Fight for the Standard." Evidently the stirring subject, so graphically worked out, has reference to that particular historic passage which describes how, when the enemy essayed to retrieve the fight, the Household Brigade met them, and after a desperate encounter—of the best horsemen in England and the best in France—the whole mass of the French, horse and foot, were driven back in confusion, leaving behind them the eagles of the 45th and 105th regiments. Mr Milne's treatment, in his reproduction of the picture, has been highly successful, and his work in this and other subjects has won universal praise, the only regret experienced being that pictures of this nature are of necessity far too costly to be generally purchased.

Various scientific instruments, and several forms of medico-galvanic batteries, were shown by Mr Noble, and a number of the delicate instruments employed in modern telegraphy had been sent in by Mr Meddings, the district Inspector of Telegraphs. In every case, the workmanship displayed in these instruments was of the highest character.