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Chromolithography

(Fr.: chromolithographie; lithochromatographie; lithochromie; lithochromographie; oléographie)

The process was a painstaking method of printing a picture in colors from a series of stones prepared by the LITHOGRAPHIC process. One stone was required for each color. According to one source, Alois Senefelder seems to have been the first to attempt color lithography. In 1817, he is said to have published The Fair of Bulgaria, a print in eleven colors. According to a different source, the process was invented in 1838 by the Frenchman Hippolyte Moulin, a collaborator with Engelmann. Yet another source mentions Michel de Serres as the inventor in 1814, and also Engelmann as the practitioner who perfected the process a few years later.

Chromolithographs are often referred to as TINTED LITHOGRAPHS. The technique was reserved for only the most expensive “coffee table” books of the Victorian era. Examples are: Industrial Arts of the XIX Century, and Owen Jones’ The Grammar of Ornament, 1856. In the U.S.A., the first color lithograph was produced by Duval, in 1835: “Grandpapa’s Pet, drawn and LITHOTINTED by John R. Richards, expressly for Miss Leslie’s Magazine.” The firm Currier and Ives became foremost in reporting news events pictorially by the use of chromolithography. (Nadeau, Encyclopedia, p. xxx.).

Chromolithography "The Seventies," by Kronheim & Co., ca. 1880. 230 x 195 mm

Chromolithography “The Seventies,” by Kronheim & Co., ca. 1880. 230 x 195 mm.