A three-color subtractive assembly printing process in which the part images were pigmented gelatin reliefs produced by a highly standardized variation of the CARBRO process and developed on a flexible (viscose) support before being transferred to paper.

Devised during 1928 and 1929 by D.A. Spencer and F.W. Coppin, of Colour Photographs Ltd., London, the process produced excellent results and was used between 1931 and Sept. 1939, when the outbreak of the War made it necessary to close down the factory, for most of its staff went into the Armed Forces.

Before the war, a negligible number of English professional photographers made color prints from their separation negatives. They relied instead on the print making service operated by Colour Photographs Ltd. This company, in an attempt to popularize commercial photography, supplied photographers with Vivex color prints from their separation negatives at prices that left such a small margin of profit that there was little need for the average photographer to make his own. The typical cost of a print was a few shillings (at the time, 20 shillings= 1 Pound= $5.00). In England, the circulation of magazines was much smaller than what it was in America and as a result, advertising space was much cheaper. It was difficult for a photographer to obtain an average of £8 8s. (about $42.00) per color photograph, since his prints were competing against hand-colored bromide prints.

Despite their lower cost, Vivex prints were generally considered to equal the finest American work –and indeed a considerable number were sold to American photographers in those cases where the time factor was not of importance. To the collector who finds Vivex prints of high artistic merit, it is interesting to know that particular attention was given by Colour Photographs Ltd. to the selection of pigment materials with excellent light-fast properties. The best known exponent of this process Madame Yevonde (1893-1975) who used it extensively for portraiture as documented in Lawrence Hole’s The Goddesses: Portraits by Madame Yevonde, produced in cooperation with the Yevonde Picture Archive, which reproduces her entire Goddess Series. (Nadeau, Encyclopedia, p. xxx).

Vivex photograph ca. 1938. 296x211 mm Vivex photograph ca. 1938. 296x211 mm

Vivex photograph ca. 1938. 296 x 211 mm.

Vivex print. 275 x 210 mm Vivex print. 275 x 210 mm

Vivex print. 275 x 210 mm