British photographic history

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I am conducting research on the use of the glycerine in the development of platinum prints and have compiled a list of artists that have used it in the United States, including Kasebier, Clarence White, F. Holland Day, Stieglitz, and of course Joseph Keiley (amongst others.)  However, I have very few examples of artists using the technique in Europe.  If anyone has any leads I might follow I would really appreciate your help.  Thank you!

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Comment by Adrienne Lundgren on October 31, 2011 at 12:46

Mike, Thank you for your post!  I have been looking for that exact account of Willis in the Camera Club and have found many references to it but alas it was not in our collections here at LC!  So thank you!  I will look into Davidson and Hollyer. Cheers, Adrienne

Comment by Mike Ware on October 31, 2011 at 12:35

Greetings Adrienne,

The earliest reference I can find to the use of "glycerine development" of Platinotypes in the UK is an address and demonstration to the Camera Club in June 1893 by William Willis himself. It's reported in:

W. Willis, 'Platinotype - some New Points', Journal of the Camera Club, 1893, Vol 7, pp170-3.

Willis showed several prints on his Sepia Platinotype paper, developed by potassium oxalate mixed with glycerine, and he explains: 

"This developer would probably work well without the glycerine, but I have added this substance in order to render development by brush more easy and certain."

He earlier admits: " I am very poor in negatives, but Mr. Davidson and Mr. Hollyer have kindly lent me some."

So perhaps the works of these two might be worth examining?

Best wishes for your research,


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