History of chrysotypes

27/07/2022
In 1794 Mrs Elizabeth Fulhame of Edinburgh published the result of her experiments using salts of gold and silver to create images on cloth. This book was called "An Essay on Combustion with a View to a New Art of Dying and Painting Wherein the Phlogistic and Antiphlogistic Hypotheses are Proved Erroneous" and was the first time that anyone had ever documented phtochemical imaging.

In 1842 Sir John Herschel, basing his work on that documented by Mrs Fulhame, developed the experimentation with gold further and devised a process which he called Chrysotype. Unfortunately he found that there were several problems with his process which included fogging of the image and no way to control the colours which were produced. Given that his initial aim was to create a process which was no monochromatic (as his other processes were) this was a major problem.

In 1987 Mike Ware, Professor of Chemistry and Manchester University, reinvented Herschel's chrysotype process by applying modern chemistry to it and devised four different versions.