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FACSIMILE ALBUMEN PRINTS OF THE WORK OF JOHN THOMSON (2019)



This project is the result of a London College of Communication Research Development Grant and developed a simple method for producing facsimile albumen prints of the work of Victorian photographer John Thomson, using the digitised images of his glass plate negatives produced by the Wellcome Library’s imaging department.

The aim was to produce process accurate facsimiles of the iconic triptych of the western façade of Angkor Wat temple, as featured in Thomson’s 1867 “The Antiquities of Cambodia”. To facilitate this, the Wellcome transferred the RAW scans of the negatives and the original Kodak IQ Smart3 Scanner to my laboratory at the college. Using contemporaneous books and articles by Thomson and with the help of modern spectral-analytical equipment I produced a series of glass collodion test charts using the same materials and methods as Thomson. These then informed the process of creating acetate inkjet negatives which could be used to make albumen prints. These prints were then gold toned, mounted and presented in a handmade portfolio folder.

Papers explaining the methodologies and historical context of the work have been presnted  to the Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography (AHFAP) and the Institute for Conservation (ICON).