Anonymous, 'Portrait of Three Unidentified Girls'

Anonymous, 'Portrait of Three Unidentified Girls'

'Portrait of Three Unidentified Girls'
About 1860s
Collodion positive
Museum no. E.1163-1992

The Photograph

Collodion positive was invented by F. Scott Archer in 1822 and was in widespread use by the mid 1850s. It is also sometimes called an ambrotype.

Identifying the Technique

This portrait can be identified as a collodion positive because the image is always shown as a positive unlike the daguerreotype where both the positive and negative images are visible depending on the lighting of the object.

The Process

A sheet of glass was hand-coated with a thin film of collodion (guncotton disolved in ether) containing potassium iodide, and was sensitised to the light with silver nitrate to create a collodion negative. The back is painted black or covered with a piece of black cardboard or cloth in order to achieve the effect of a positive image.

Photographers Who Have Used This Technique

George Ruff
Stephen Gray
William Hall


This photograph can be found in Print Room Box 12a.