|Frederick Henry Evans|
|Key Attributes : Technique · Significant Marks · Conservation · Subject Series|
|General Information : Biography · Provenance and Significant Collections · References and Bibliography|
In a series of articles with the title "Some Notes on Interior Work," published in Amateur Photographer 39, no. 1021 (1903), Frederick H. Evans described the photographic equipment he used for architectural works:
He preferred the Zeiss Protar lens (10") or the Dallmeyer-Bergheim portrait lens. For this camera he used a series of Zeiss lenses with the following focal lengths: 7", 8", 9", 10", 12", 14", and 19" (his favorite). He worked at f.32, f.45, and f.64.
Evans used double film negatives (he recommended the Cristoid brand). This film has a black paper support and two layers of emulsion (a slow and a rapid emulsion) combined to produce a thick film. Evans suggested that this would result in a better print.
Many of Evans' glass plate negatives were destroyed. Evans pointed out that glass negatives need to have a very precise exposure compared to film negatives.
Negative of his famous photograph Sea of Steps (glass gelatin dry-plate) survived and stored now within the collection from Royal Photographic Society in the Museum of Media in Bradford, Great Britain. This negative was used to print limited edition of 45 modern platinum/palladium prints of “The Sea of Steps”, printed on Arches Aquarelle paper from the internegative made from Evans’ original glass whole plate negative. This initiative was a result of collaboration between RPS and 31 Studio .
Numerous negatives of 100 French chateaux made by Evans in 1906-07 are in the Picture Library of Country Life magazine. New prints was made from these negatives by A.C.Cooper Ltd. for the publication "The chateaux of France. Photographs by Frederick H. Evans from the archives of Country Life 1906-1907". 
George Eastman House has two prints from the same negative, depicting an English landscape, both titled "On the Road to Watendlath" (see image below). The smaller is the contact silver gelatin print with an image size of 4.5 x 2.9" and a mount size of 6.5 x 4.5". It is mounted with tissue paper (below image on the left). The enlarged platinum print has an image size of 9.7 x 6.9" and a mount size of 19 x 14.7" (see image on the right).
Evans' favorite process was platinum.
"Platinotype, properly treated, is the printing process that suits all negatives of good gradation" (F. H. Evans, "Some Notes on Platinotype Printing," The Amateur photographer, Sept. 8, 1908)..
The printing process requires accurate timing. For warming up the coldish black color of platinotype he added a few drops of saturated mercuric chloride to the normal Platinotype Co.'s developer. Bath should be at 120º Fahrenheit.
A marking of Kodak Velox Bromesco is found on two silver gelatin prints:
Frederick Evans used different silver gelatin papers. Hanako Murata, researching Gevaluxe Velours photographic paper, included five F.H. Evans prints from the GEH collection :
In 1886 he and George Smith of the Sciopticon Company (which produced lantern slides) experimented with photomicrography in pictures of shells and sea creatures. .
Photomicrographs were sometimes printed in Satista Paper - inscription by Evans` hand on the title page of the album of photomictographs: "Photo-micrographs by Frederick H. Evans. Negatives and Silver prints made before 1886, other prints in Satista platinotype in 1914"
See also Satista paper.
Evans produced lantern slides for giving presentations. File:Art lantern.pdf
In the article "The Handling of Textures" by D. Blount, published in Amateur Photographer 39, no. 1024 (May 19th, 1904), the author gives interesting details of Evans' printing technique and compares two portraits by the photographer: a platinotype and a gum bichromate ("Portrait of the Dean of Ely").
Prints do not appear to have surface finishing. One silver gelatin print from the GEH collection is ferrotyped: "Copy of painting by Minna Keene" (GEH 1966:0030:0023).
Mounts are a key characteristic of F. H. Evans’ work. The photographer often uses multilayer mounting systems. Mounts in the GEH collection vary from 1 to 3 layers. It is possible to find mounts with different decorative elements:
Most mounts have a pencil ruled line frame or water-color ruled lines, and wash-band frame. Several mounts have tissue paper; four are in passe-partout mounts and one photogravure has an India-tint mount. The decorative frame on photographic prints has a long tradition. It comes from mounting lithographs and drawings. The parallel ruler lines around prints were in fashion in the eighteenth century, but they appeared much earlier. In early photographic history, ruler lines were used by Talbot in some of his photographically illustrated books. Decorative frames with 'water-color ruled lines and wash-band frames also come from the tradition of mounting drawings and engravings, as well as striking bronze color borders. Mounts with a layer of Japanese tissue paper under the print were introduced in the mid-nineteenth century. This link shows examples of two prints by Evans, mounted this way. India-tint mount evolved from mounts with Japanese tissues and have a lithographic wide decorative border around the image. His ability to create perfect and beautiful mounts was well known. A group of prints entitled "The Seven Last Words" by F. Holland Day were reprinted and mounted by Evans. Day was very cautious about the finishing of his photographs. In 1908, F. H. Evans mounted an exhibition at the Royal Photographic Society of multilayer mounts of both good and poor quality, which included a demonstration and a published article in The Photographic Journal, February, 1908.File:Notes on mounting.pdf
No coatings were found on prints by F. H. Evans.
Although F. H. Evans was often described as an adept of "pure" or "straight" photography, meaning he was against any alteration of negatives or prints, we find examples of spotting. He was a perfectionist and always attempted to make perfect negatives and prints, but he accepted unavoidable retouching in cases of small technical defects. After close study of his prints one might find many examples of spotting, sometimes quite obvious.
Different prints of the same negative can show different quality of spotting: some print is better retouched, defects of negative almost invisible; other print would show rather apparent retouching. For example, one can compare prints "In Deerleap Woods" in Museum of Fine Art in Boston (1970.44), in George Eastman House (1981:1198:0004). Eastman House print came from the collection of Gordon Conn, and shows some retouching, but delicate. The MFA print (provenance - Carl Siembab Gallery, Boston, gift of David H. McAlpin) shows more noticeable retouching. The print from Hans Krause Jr. Gallery shows most delicate retouching.
One example in the GEH collection shows very extensive retouching all over the print: "On the road to Watendlath: Borrowdale" (GEH 1981:1198:0012). This is an enlarged negative; George Eastman House also holds a contact silver gelatin print from the same negative.