segunda-feira, 30 de agosto de 2010



12 de Janeiro



No. 1147


London, Saturday, January, 12, 1839




Paris, 6th January, 1839


We have much pleasure in announcing an important discovery made by M. Daguerre, the celebrated painter of the Diorama. This discovery seems like a prodigy. It disconcerts all the theories of science in light and optics, and, if borne out, promises to make a revolution in the arts of design.

M. Daguerre has discovered a method to fix the images which are represented at the back of a camera obscura; so that these images are not the temporary reflection of object, but their fixed and durable impress, which may be removed from the presence of those objects like a picture or an engraving.

Let our readers fancy the fidelity of the image of nature figured by the camera obscura, and add to it an action of the solar rays which fixes this image, with all its gradations of lights, shadows, and middle tints, and they will have an idea of the beautiful designs, with a sight of which M. Daguerre has gratified our curiosity. M. Daguerre cannot act on paper; he requires a plate of polished metal. It was on copper that we saw several points of the Boulevards, Pont Marie, and the environs, and many others spots, given with a truth which Nature alone can give to her works. M. Daguerre shows you the plain plate of copper: he places it, in your presence, in his apparatus and, in three minutes, if there is a bright summer sun, and a few more, if autumn or winter weaken the power of its beams, he takes out the metal and shows it you, covered with a charming design representing the object towards which the apparatus was turned. Nothing remains but a short mechanical operation – of washing, I believe – and the design, which has been obtained in so few moments, remains unalterably fixed, so that the hottest sun cannot destroy it.

Messrs. Arago, Biot, and Von Humboldt, have ascertained the reality of this discovery, which excited their admiration; and M. Arago will, in a few days, make it known to the Academy of Sciences.

I add some further particulars. Nature in motion cannot be represented, or at least not without great difficulty, by the process in question. In one of the views of the Boulevards, of which I have spoken, all that was walking or moving does not appear in the design; of two horses in a backney coach on the stand, one unluckily moved its head during the short operation; the animal is without a head in the design. Trees are very well represented; but their colour, as it seems, hinders the solar rays from producing their image as quickly as that of houses, and other objects of a different colour. This causes a difficulty for landscape, because there is a certain fixed point of perfection for trees, and another for all objects the colours of which are not green. The consequence is, that when the houses are finished, the trees are not, and when the trees are finished, the houses are too much so.

Inanimate nature, architecture, are the triumph of the apparatus which M. Daguerre means to call after his own name – Daguerotype. A dead spider, seen in the solar microscope, is finished with such detail in the design, that you may study its anatomy, with or without a magnifying glass, as if it were nature itself; not a fibre, not a nerve, but you may trace and examine. For a few hundred francs travelers may, perhaps, be soon able to procure M. Daguerre’s apparatus, and bring back views of the finest monuments, and of the most delightful scenery of the whole world. They will see how far their pencils and brushes are from the truth of the Daguerotype. Let not the draughtsman and the painter, however, despair – the results obtained by M. Daguerre are very different from their works, and, in many cases, cannot be a substitute for them. The effects of this new process have some resemblance to line engraving and mezzotinto, but are much near to the latter: as for truth, they surpass every thing.

I have spoken of the discovery only as it regards art. If what I have heard is correct, M. Dagurre’s discovery tends to nothing less than a new theory on an important branch of science. M. D. generously owns that the first idea of his process was given him, fifteen years ago, by M. Nieps, of Chalons-sur-Saone; but in so imperfect a state, that it has cost him long and persevering labour to attain the object.



[From the “ Gazette de France”, of January 6, 1839.]

Previously to receiving the above, we had written the following paragraph. – Ed. L.G.


Nature Painted by Herself. – A French journal contains a remarkable account of experiments with the Camera Lucida, the result of which is the exact and actual preservation of the impressions reflected by natural images upon copper plates. What the process is we are not told, but, as far as we understand it, by exposing the copper to these  reflections, and immediately rubbing it over with a certain material, the likeness of whatever is so impressed is retained with perfect accuracy. Some difficulties occur where there is motion in the objects, whether animals, or leaves of trees stirered by the wind, &c.; but, if really true, this is a very extraordinary discovery for the fine arts. Some of our readers may be aware that, some fourteen or fifteen years ago, Sir H. Davy and other scientific men amongst us, strenuously endeavoured to attain this desideratum; and by means of nitrate of silver, upon which light and shade produced certain effects, seemed to have all but accomplished their end. It was not however complete; for the changes in colour were too evanescent to admit of permanent fixture. We shall be glad to find the French experimenters more successful.

Sem comentários:

Enviar um comentário