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Camarsac's Process

(Fr.: procédé Camarsac)

The Paris photographer Lafon de Camarsac was the first, in 1855, to introduce a method of making BURNT-IN PHOTOGRAPHIC ENAMELS. See also the PHOTOCERAMIC entry.

The process was named at the beginning after its originator, who started to work on it in 1851. Five years later he had produced a considerable number of vitrified images on enameled copper for use in jewelry. By 1867, he had produced some 15,000 enamels. His process was also used in Switzerland to decorate clocks and on tombstones. The specimen we use to illustrate this process is uncommonly large: 215 x 157 mm.

His original process relied on chemical substitution, i.e., a silver image produced by the WET COLLODION process was treated (toned) with a gold chloride or platinum chloride solution, in order to incorporate gold or platinum into the image, which, when transferred and burnt -in on enamel, gave an image with much more density than plain silver could provide. (Nadeau, Encyclopedia, p. xxx).

Lafon de Camarsac photo-enamel, signed and dated 1864. 215 x 157 mm. "3 Quai Malaquais 1864" [Paris] Lafon de Camarsac photo-enamel, signed and dated 1864. 215 x 157 mm. "3 Quai Malaquais 1864" [Paris]

Lafon de Camarsac photo-enamel, signed and dated 1864. 215 x 157 mm. “3 Quai Malaquais 1864”. [Paris]