French Crystals


These are photographs colored with liquid water colors and mounted on

glass. For several years a process has been taught by which a

photograph is rendered transparent by the use of paraffine oil, etc.,

then mounted on glass, and colored from the back with oil paints. While

by this method a picture pleasing at the time could be produced, yet

unless the process was perfectly e
ecuted the oils would decompose and

the picture become yellow and spotted. The use of water colors entirely

overcomes these objections, as it is so simple that any one can employ

them perfectly, and as there are no oils used in their production they

cannot change or turn yellow.


Convex glasses on which to mount photographs,

Bottle of Florentine, Egyptian, Grecian or other compound for

mounting on glass,

Best French picture glass,

Some gummed paper,

A dish in which to soak photographs,

Some dark, thin, fancy paper,

Sheet of blotting paper.


Having secured a good photograph, rub a little pumice stone over it

with the finger, and then, if it is mounted, remove it from the card by

placing it in warm water and allowing it to soak for an hour or two, or

over night if necessary. After it is thus freed from the card lay it

face down on a piece of glass, and sponge off all the starch from the

back. Cut a piece of blotting paper the size of the picture and lay it

on a glass, wetting it with water applied with a sponge; then lay the

photograph, still wet, on the blotting paper, and, with a sponge,

remove all the surplus water from its surface. Now proceed to color it

according to the directions given in the preceding pages for coloring

photographs with transparent liquid water colors. In case you should

put on too much color, let the photograph soak a few moments in warm

water, when the surplus color will gradually come out, and you may then

recolor it. After it has been finished to your satisfaction, proceed to

mount it according to the directions next given.


The glass for mounting, whether flat or convex, should be the same size

as the picture. It should be dipped in water and permitted to drain

off, but do not dry it; pour a little of the compound on the side

against which the photograph is to be placed--the hollow side, if the

glass is convex--let it drain off and lay the picture face down upon

it. With the thumb and finger commence at the centre of the photograph,

smoothing it down close to the glass, forcing all the air bubbles out

to the edges, thus continuing until the picture is entirely smoothed

out, and at every point in actual contact with the glass. During this

process hold the glass at an angle, so that you can see if there are

any air bubbles or glistening places in it by examining its face

occasionally; and always let a little of the compound get on the back

of the photograph, as it allows the fingers to glide over it more

easily and lessens the chance of tearing it. Now take a second glass

the same size as the first, and having thoroughly cleaned it, fasten it

to the back of the other by small strips of gummed paper. Then place a

piece of card-board of the same size on the back of the two glasses and

fasten the three together also with small strips of gummed paper;

finally securing the whole firmly together by binding it with some

large strips, and your picture is ready to frame. In case you do not

care to frame it, cut out a piece of some dark fancy paper, a quarter

of an inch on each edge larger than the picture, and fasten it, dark

side out, on the back, allowing the quarter of an inch to lap over and

be pasted on the face, after which straighten the edges with a ruler

and sharp knife.


The principles that have been given in regard to finishing photographs

with lines, apply also to finishing with India ink--with the exception

that in the manipulation of the ink it must be remembered that it

cannot be taken out; therefore, you must commence to finish the

photograph gradually, and produce the proper strength by repeatedly

working over it. The old method of making India ink portraits was to

have a print on "plain" paper--a kind without albumen on its surface.

The great disadvantage of "plain" paper is that the lights and shadows

on it are not strong, and therefore it takes too much work to finish

the picture.

The following method (which is very simple and can be used in work on

albumen paper, provided you have treated it by rubbing pumice stone

over its surface with your fingers), adapts it to India ink. Of course

the pumice stone treatment destroys the albumen on the surface, causing

it to have a dull appearance, but after the picture has been finished

its lustre can be restored by the use of a not too warm burnisher.

In finishing the photograph commence on the hair by washing it all

over (with the exception of the highest light) with a weak solution of

the ink, using the brush in the same direction that the hair goes;

after this has dried, indicate the half-shadow with a little stronger

wash, and after drying it again put in the deeper shadows, then the

eyebrows, eyes and beard, if the subject has one.

Faces are finished in India ink on the line principle,[D] which shows

the grain of the flesh. Commence on the forehead with a very weak

solution, and then continue it all over the face, repeatedly working

and cross hatching with lines until the face is dark enough; then

strengthen the shadows under the eyes, nose, mouth and chin. After the

face is completed put in the clothes. This you do by washing them over

with two or three solutions of the ink, and then producing the line

effect as in work on crayon portraits, explained on page 76, the

difference in the nature of the material used being always borne in

mind. After the picture is otherwise completed, you can brighten up the

eyes and some of the strongest shadows with a solution of gum arabic

and water.