Alan is back!
The museum, through its volunteers, can process large quantities (thousands) of donated glass plate negatives, up to around A4 size, within a few months.
Amongst the last batch of over a thousand there was a colour one; the rest are the usual black and white. On examination, this is the only colour one of this type that the museum has.
It is made up of a number of very thin glass plates stuck together. Each of these glass plates is for one colour only, just like your computer screen, where each pixel is made up of only blue, red and green colours at different intensities. This manages to persuade your brain to see all the colours in a typical digital colour image. For these colour glass plates, the photographer would have had his camera securely mounted on a tripod, and a number of photographs taken with different colour filters in turn over the lens. This was followed by careful processing to make each plate only one colour. There would have to be no movement of the subject between the various exposures. A garden scene on a calm day appears to have fitted the bill.
This discovery led to a search of the museum’s image database to discover that Horace Charles Messer (1866-26th September 1936) started his photographic studio around 1897 at 29 Castle Street in Salisbury. Mr Messer was very much involved in the development of colour photography.
In 1910 the British Journal of Photography mentions Autochrome photographs of the lilacs of the funeral wreath of King Edward VII:
“The Salisbury Wreath to King Edward: We have already mentioned that Mr HC Messer of Castle Street took a photograph in colours by the Autochrome process of the beautiful wreath which was sent from Salisbury to the funeral of King Edward VII at Windsor. Mr Messer sent a copy of the picture to King George and has received the following acknowledgement: Buckingham Palace, The Private Secretary is commanded by the King to thank Mr HC Messer for his letter of the 25th and for the photograph of the wreath.”
Mr Messer won prizes for his photography throughout the country.
Mr Lovibond, around this time, was experimenting with coloured glass which resulted in him setting up the international company Tintometers. For many years colour measurement equipment, for use throughout the world, was manufactured in Salisbury by Tintometers. An interesting thought is, did Mr Lovibond know Mr Messer?
More to come from Alan in the coming weeks….