Colour Mania: Photographing the World in Autochrome

Autochrome photography was the first commercially available form of color photography, pioneered by Auguste and Louis Lumière in the early 1900s. Historic and precious, many of these images are rarely seen today as exposure to light will cause them to fade. The book Colour Mania: Photographing the World in Autochrome, by curator Catlin Langford, offers unprecedented access to these images, presenting the digitized photographs from the …

Digitizing Rare Edwardian Images That Are Too Fragile to Display

In 1903, the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, patented the first widely available color photography process, called autochrome. Their method—which involves dusting a plate with dyed potato starch particles before loading it into a camera—revolutionized photography and cinema, yet autochrome photos are rarely seen today. Extremely sensitive, with a single transparency, these images are ruined when exposed to light and thus hardly displayed—even at London’s …

The Perils of Moving the V&A’s Arsenic-Laced Hats

As 250,000 objects, 350,000 books and more from The Victoria and Albert Museum’s archive move from their current Blythe House storage to a new, purpose-built east London facility, dangers abound—including from the textile collection. As the phrase “mad as a hatter” makes reference too, until the 1930s some hat features (like feathers and even whole birds, an Edwardian era trend) were treated with arsenic and …