Ústav dějin umění Akademie věd ČR, v. v. i.

The 1840s: Transformations in Reprographics

We cordially invite you to the lecture from the cycle Collegium historiae artium, which will be given by Anthony Hamber (independent photographic historian, London) on the topic of The 1840s: Transformations in Reprographics.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday, April 24, 2024 at 4.30 pm in the Institute of Art History CAS, room 117, Husova 4, Prague 1.

In January 1839, when the photographic processes of Daguerre and Talbot were announced, there was an existing, mature, and extensive printing and reprographics industry in all industrialised countries. The most significant printing process was that of lithography. Almost immediately there was a wave of experimentation in developing a photomechanical process. Those experimenters were primarily scientists and did not form part of the existing reprographics industries. Photographic historians have tended to repeat the same list of experimenters, primarily from France, Austria, and the United Kingdom. Emerging evidence suggests that during the 1840s – described as a comparative “gap” in scholarly research – photomechanical experimentation was in fact more widespread. This paper examines the speed of the distribution of news of Daguerre’s and Talbot’s processes and discusses a number of the photomechanical experiments that followed. A key consideration examined is why the contemporary printing and reprographics industries did not adopt photography during the 1840s to develop commercial photomechanical processes and accompanying services. A short case study underlines how one individual, with much experience in transfer lithography, played a crucial role in the late 1850s in the development of photozincography at the UK’s national cartographic agency (Ordnance Survey).

This lecture will also be available online. For the Zoom link, please contact us at:

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