strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /home/iovannet/public_html/grandearte/modules/book/book.module on line 559.


Having before noticed the fact that some advances had been made towards taking Daguerreotypes in color, by means of solar rays, and expressed the hope that the day was not far distant when this might be accomplished, I here subjoin Mr. Hunt's remarks on this subject.

Mr. Biot, in 1840, speaking of Mr. Fox Talbot's beautiful calotype pictures, considers as an illusion "the hope to reconcile, not only the intensity but the tints of the chemical impressions produced by radiations, with the colors of the object from which these radiations emanated." It is true that three years have passed away, and we have not yet produced colored images; yet I am not inclined to consider the hope as entirely illusive.

It must be remembered that the color of bodies depends entirely upon the arrangement of their molecules. We have numerous very beautiful experiments in proof of this. The bi-niodide of mercury is a fine scarlet when precipitated. If this precipitate is heated between plates of glass, it is converted into crystals of a fine sulphur yellow, which remain of that color if undisturbed, but which becomes very speedily scarlet if touched with any pointed instrument. This very curious optical phenomena has been investigated by Mr. Talbot and by Mr. Warrington. Perfectly dry sulphate of copper is white; the slightest moisture turns it blue. Muriate of cobalt is of a pale pink color; a very slight heat, by removing a little moisture, changes it to a green. These are a few instances selected from many which might be given.

If we receive a prismatic spectrum on some papers, we have evidence that the molecular or chemical disturbance bears some relation to the color of each ray, or, in other words, that colored light so modifies the action of ENERGIA that the impression it makes is in proportion to the color of the light it accompanies, and hence there results a molecular arrangement capable of reflecting colors differently. Some instances have been given in which the rays impressed correspond with the colors of the luminous rays in a very remarkable manner.* One of the most decided cases is that of the paper prepared with the fluoride of soda and nitrate of silver. Sir John Herschel was, however, the first to obtain any good specimens of photographically impressed prismatic colorations.

* See Mr. Hunt's "Researches on Light."

It was noticed by Daguerre that a red house gave a reddish image on his iodized silver plate in the camera obscura; and Mr. Talbot observed, very early in his researches, that the red of a colored print was copied of a red color, on paper spread with the chloride of silver.**

** In 1842, I had shown me a picture of a house in the Bowery, which had been repaired a few days previous, and in the wall a red brick left. This brick was brought out on the Daguerreotype plate of precisely the same color as the brick itself. The same artist also exhibited to me, the full length portrait of a gentleman who were a pair of pantaloons having a blue striped figure. This blue stripe was fully brought out, of the same color, in the picture.--AMER. ED.

"In 1840 I communicated to Sir John Herschel some very curious results obtained by the use of colored media, which he did me the honor of publishing in one of his memoirs on the subject from which I again copy it."

"A paper prepared with muriate of barytes and nitrate of silver, allowed to darken whilst wet in the sunshine to a chocolate color, was placed under a frame containing a red, a yellow, a green, and a blue glass. After a week's exposure to diffused light, it became red under the red glass, a dirty yellow under the yellow glass, a dark green under the green, and a light olive under the blue.

"The above paper washed with a solution of salt of iodine, is very sensitive to light, and gives a beautiful picture. A picture thus taken was placed beneath the above glasses, and another beneath four flat bottles containing colored fluids. In a few days, under the red glass and fluid, the picture became a dark blue, under the yellow a light blue, under the green it remained unchanged, whilst under the blue it became a rose red, which in about three weeks changed into green. Many other experiments of a similar nature have been tried since that time with like results.

"In the summer of 1843, when engaged in some experiments on papers prepared according to the principles of Mr. Talbot's calotype, I had placed in a camera obscura a paper prepared with the bromide of silver and gallic acid. The camera embraced a picture of a clear blue sky, stucco-fronted houses, and a green field. The paper was unavoidably exposed for a longer period than was intended--about fifteen minutes,--a very beautiful picture was impressed, which, when held between the eye and the light, exhibited a curious order of colors. The sky was of a crimson hue, the houses of a slaty blue, and the green fields of a brick red tint. Surely these results appear to encourage the hope, that we may eventually arrive at a process by which external nature may be made to impress its images on prepared surfaces, in all the beauty of their native coloration."