30

September

2008

0

Levi Hill’s Treatise on Heliochromy

by Kirsten van der Veen

Heliochromy_2 As film photography becomes more and more a thing of the past, the pioneering works that examined what could be achieved with chemicals, paper, glass and light become more important and valuable.  Michelle Delaney, associate curator of the Photographic History Collection at the National Museum of American History (NMAH), has been working with several others, including staff at the Getty Conservation Institute, to examine a little-studied and long-disputed process some believe to be the earliest example of color photography. Focusing on a collection of Levi Hill’s own "Hillotypes" (a kind of daguerreotype) at NMAH, their collaboration has uncovered some intriguing facts about Hill’s process, and answered many of the unknowns.  You can read more about the project here and here.

Delaney alerted us to the sale of Hill’s Treatise on Heliochromy, and describes the book as "a truly significant book in the history of photography."  It provides an important complement to their current research and to the Smithsonian’s collection of rare Hillotypes, and we are happy to now have it in the Dibner Library’s collection.

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