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Photograph - portrait of a girl with book

portrait of a girl with book

  • Object:


  • Date:

    1850s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    collodion positive

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Also known as an ambrotype, the collodion positive was invented by F. Scott Archer in 1822, and was in widespread use by the mid-1850s. To produce a collodion positive, a sheet of glass is hand-coated with a thin film of collodion (guncotton dissolved in ether) containing potassium iodide, and sensitised to the light with silver nitrate to create a collodion negative. The back is then painted black or covered with a piece of dark cardboard or cloth in order to achieve the effect of a positive image.

This collodion positive shows a young girl holding a book. The back layer is coming away giving it a 3D appearance.

Physical description

portrait of a girl with book. top right hand corner is broken, and the back layer is damaged and coming away giving a 3D appearance


1850s (made)



Materials and Techniques

collodion positive


Height: 82 mm print, Width: 70 mm print

Descriptive line

Tinted; Anon. Portrait of a young girl, 1/2 length, hoding a book in her left hand, 1850s


Collodion processes

Subjects depicted





Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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