The Methods of R. MACFARLANE COCKS and HALDANE MACFALL for Producing their Bromoil Prints in Colour.
Messrs. R. Macfarlane Cocks and Haldane Macfall (the latter the well-known art critic), who have been working in conjunction on the subject of bromoil in colour, recently lectured before the Camera Club, and we have been favoured with a copy of their notes, and from these, in conjunction with an excellent report in the " Amateur Photographer," we have extracted particulars of their methods. Mr. Cocks, in his remarks, pointed out that they had only two real failures to produce a workable print, and these were owing to the use of a brand of bromide paper not hitherto tried, but recommended by a bromoil worker. Although, apparently, one of these bromide prints was a good one, they could not get it to take the colours, while in the other case they had a very weak print, which would not satisfactorily ink up. As for the papers they found that Kodak (White) Royal worked the best of all the makes thus tried. Their practice was as follows : Selecting a subject that had been taken with a special view to colouring, and of which they had made a sketch and notes for guidance in after work, and of which the negative was of good quality and of medium density, but not hard, they made two enlargements on the papers described as being most suitable for the process. The object of two enlargements was that one of the prints might serve as a guide for the gradations when working up its fellow. These enlargements were developed to the fullest extent, for it was essential that the prints should be strong and rich in silver, but certainly not fogged ; still it was necessary to make a print which would be stronger than would be required for monochrome bromoil, for without such a strong print a strong colour effect could not be produced. Should, however, a very delicate print be required, the bromide enlargement need not be so rich in silver, though they had found a strong bromide might be so pigmented as L
The Bromide Enlargement.
to look delicate in colour. So far as a developer was concerned, they always used Amidol and Neutral Sulphite of Soda, and fixed the developed enlargement in non-acid hypo.
Hyposulphite of soda.............
After fixing, the print was well washed and then dried and could be prepared for pigmenting at any future time in twenty minutes.
Before bleaching, they sometimes found it an advantage to faintly outline the subject in pencil for guidance in colouring, because their practice was to practically remove the whole of the silver image and any stain left in the silver. After soaking the bromide print in water for a few minutes it was removed, allowed to drain, and then immersed in a bath of " Sinclair " Bleacher, at a temperature of 65 to 70 deg. The print, being thoroughly bleached, was next rinsed, and then transferred to an acid hypo bath, made as follows : The Bleaching.
Acid Hypo after Bleacher.
Hyposulphite of soda..........
Metabisulphite of Soda ..............
Water to ..........................
The temperature of this bath should be from 60 to 65 deg. F., and they found such an acid fixing bath entirely removed the stain of the bleaching bath and did not interfere with pigmenting afterwards. Two minutes in this bath was ample.
After removing the print from the acid fixing bath it was rinsed well in tepid water, and then soaked in another bath of tepid water, 65-70 deg. F., for ten minutes, face down, and during such soaking, and in order to ensure the print being well immersed, they laid on the back of it a vulcanite stirring rod or a sheet of blotting paper. The print then appears as blank white paper.
The print was now ready for pigmenting, but it was essential to keep it moist till the work was finished. On a sheet of plate glass-was laid a pad of wet blotting boards covered with a piece of clean linen. On this the wet print was placed, and the surface carefully dabbed with a clean linen cloth - an old handkerchief was excellent - so that all the surplus water was removed. The pad upon which the
Pad for Pigmenting.
print was worked requires frequently wetting, and to do this the print may be lifted and water applied with a sponge.
One of their greatest difficulties was to keep the palette and print in good working order for several hours, perhaps a whole day, for a 20 x 16 print sometimes required this and even more. When the work was thus prolonged, it might be necessary to sometimes immerse the print for a second time in water, and afterwards absorb the surplus water off the surface, with a piece of clean linen, and this would not be likely to take off any appreciable amount of colour.