National Archives workbook 39/10 pages 27 to 61

These are the notes written by W.S. Tomkin during a photographic course at the "Polytechnic" during 1889 where he was taught to photograph both landscapes and objects, useful in his role as Pitt-Rivers' assistant. See here for more information.

Note that it will be clear from the following entries that the notebook has, for some reason, been numbered originally and by the National Archives in reverse order, a reversed set of notes are available here.

Page 27 [marked 34 on top]
Chemicals required
1/4 lb Acetate of Soda
1 ounce precipitated chalk
Van der Weyde 182 Regent right hand side going up 870
July 22nd 1d 1d to "Polytechnic"
2d to W. & M. from there to Phototype Company 2d from there to Victoria

Page 28 [marked 35 on top]
July 20th
Exposed an Ilford plate ordinary for oil painting indoors with stop No. 2 for about 40 45 seconds (Light failing)
Inserted 3 other plates in dark slides
July 21st
Plate I in dark slide is unexposed
Plate II Selbys House
Plate III Selby's House
Plate IV Ightham Church

Page 29 [marked 36 on top]
[illegible, possibly Toning] solution will keep with care for 6 months replenish gold about 2 hrs before use and allow to stand occasionally add abt. a drum of acetate of soda Precipitated chalk to be in the bottom of the bottle
Avoid top lights
Interior painted French grey
Floor covered with carpet
Light to face north or north east
Door with lock
Perfectly firm on foundations
Narrow floor boards
Water tight windows

Page 30 [marked 37 on top]
If [insert] warm [end insert] tones [insert] are required [end insert] keep in bath much shorter time
Rinse in water and change and then they the prints are ready for fixing bath
Fixing Bath
1 part (oz) of Hypo
10 ozs of water and 10 minims of strong Ammonia [illegible]
Keep constantly moving in this bath for abt 15 mn take out and give 1/2 doz changes of water (keeping prints moving) and finally wash in running water for about 10 hours
To dry
Lay out on pink blotting paper or better still a clean towel

Page 31 [marked 38 on top]
Proceed as follows -
8 drums of acetate of soda (1/4 lb) dissolved in 80 ozs of water (distilled) then add an (8 grs) ounce of gold ch. solution shake the bottle and add 1 drum of precipitated chalk [insert] 40 grs [end insert] (I ounce to get of this) After 24 hours (after mixing) this is ready for use
Carefully avoid contamination
Solution to be 70 [degrees]
If cold it wont tone
In winter warm
Keep prints constantly moving whilst toning
Return superfluous toning solution to bottle
put away toning dish after use
Tone till a slight amount of red in the shadows only remains

Page 32 [marked 39 on top]
3 plates of my own (Ilford) used for the Genl's work
Focussing cloth 1s 6d
Operation after printing
Keep two distinct dishes for Hypo. one for fixing negatives and one for printing
Tone prints after printing
Toning to take place as soon after printing as possible
Washing in 3 changes of 5 min allowing 1 gallon of water per change
Keep constantly moving and turning
Toning bath
Should be prepared 24 hours before being used

Page 33 [marked 40 on top]
Plate III Bronze figure of Dante 
P. Good No 2 stop used exposure about 15 seconds
Plate IV Bronze figure
P. Good No 2 stop used exposure about 15 seconds
The dullness of the plates exposed for Kit's Coty House and the Maidstone Museum is caused by light getting to them whilst changing in the dark room
This is a fact to be noted. Great care must be taken that no light can get to the plates whatever until they are exposed
4 to 5 on Friday
Fares 2d
To Elliots and Phototype Co. from there to Poly 2d

Page 34 [marked 41 on top]
July 15th

Plate I Ivory Carving  Stop No 4 exposure about 15 seconds No sunlight D90 90 60 [insert] not so well [illegible] as the first exposure [end insert]

Plate II Bronze figure of Grenadier Stop no 4 exposure about 15 seconds no sunlight D 90 90 60 [insert] Details better in this than in first attempt [end insert]

Plate I Carved head of Cleopatra in granite No 2 stop used exposure about 15 seconds Developer 90 90 60 [insert] P. Good [end insert]

Plate II Flint implement no 2 stop used Exposure about 15 seconds Developer 90 90 60 [insert] [2 words illegible] not right otherwise about right

Page 35 [marked 42 on top]

July 13th

W.&M. [illegible]

Pl/1 Kits Coty House

Pl 2 Kits Coty House front view 2 seconds full aperture

Pl 3 Distant view full aperture

Ilford Plates

Pl 4 Distant view full aperture

Pl 5 Maidstone Museum stop 3 15 seconds

Pl 6 Maidstone Museum stop 3 15 seconds

July 14th Ilford Plates

Plate 1 Beech tree with figure stop 3 15 seconds no sunlight

Plate II Beech tree 20 seconds

Plate III Trees with figure stop 3 15 seconds [insert] very good P. [end insert]

Page 36 [marked 43 on top]

Plate 5 Carved ivory figure on fish. Stop 4 used exposure about 10 seconds no sunlight [insert] exposure and development might have been slightly increased 50%

Plate 6 Two [illegible] figures stop 4 used exposure about     seconds no sunlight

5 same exposure same stop Ammonia to be used starting with full amount

July 12th

3 W & W Instantaneous Nos 1-2 and 3

3 Ilford Plates ordinary [Note along side] This plate (negative) complimented by Polytechnic authorities also by Messrs Waterlow & Sons representative

Page 37 [marked 44 on top]

July 11th

Plate 1 Bronze figure of dancing faun Stop 5 used exposure 5 seconds Good strong light [insert] underexposed [end insert]

Plate 2 Bronze fig. of Gundsuma Stop 5 used exposure 5 seconds Good strong light [insert] underexposed 3 times more [end insert]

Plate 3 Terra Cotta Tanagra fig against dark background Stop 5 used exposure 5 seconds Light not so strong

Plate 4 Two Tanagra figures against a white background Stop 5 used exposure 8 seconds Light not so strong

Page 38 [marked 45 on top]

Development continued

For objects not more than 30 ft from camera such as carvings and details in very strong relief and with strong contrasts

Pyro 60

Bromide 30

Ammonia 30 to be made up to 3 ozs with water

For every object not more than 10 ft from the camera Pyro 10 minims

Page 39 [marked 46 on top]


For open subjects such as landscapes, architecture &c

7 1/2 x 5 plates require 3 ozs of developer

Pyro 20 to 40 minims per oz

Bromide equal quantity

Ammonia 1/2 to 2/3 (begin with the smaller quantity)

Pyro 90

Bromide 90

Ammonia 45 to be made up to 3 ozs with water

For distant landscapes and subjects showing very slight contrasts

Pyro 180

Bromide 90

Ammonia 90  at first to be made up to 3 ozs with water

Page 40 [marked 47 on top]

July 10th G.G.

Pl 1 Bronze figure of Faun (Satyr) no 4 stop used good light exposure about 5 seconds

Tanagra figure very much under-developed which causes background to be toned instead of white

Skull also underdeveloped giving same results.

Page 41 [marked 48 on top]

The evening light of the above was too weak except for detailed subject use no 3 stop

Wednesday morning 10.30 to 11.30

At Grosvenor Gardens A 60 B 30 C 30  Stop Exposure Bronze figure and Egyptian painted tablet taken with small lens no stop used. Light good exposed about 4 seconds Ditto for Tanagra figure and monkeys head

Bronze figure holding vase exposed right time and the development about right. Might have been a little longer

Page 42 [marked 49 on top]

July 4th
Bus fares 2d 2d 2d 2d

6th 1d 1d 1d 1d

Saturday July 6th
Instantaneous plates
Pl 1 Mochtons Lodge
Pl 2 view up valley
Pl 3 Foliage Hedgerow
Pl 4 2nd view up valley Evening light
Good exposure in each case
Pl 5 Haystack and waggons Evening light
Pl 6 (1) Upper pond Basted
Pl 7 (2) Rushes ditto
Pl 8 (3)

Page 43 [marked 50 on top]

from Camera stop no 2 used 3 seconds exposure
Plate 6 Statue of Caesar Augustus at Rushmore (second new) similar in every respect as no. 5 [Added] right exposure

Wednesday July 3rd
Packed for London in black relic box unbound nos of journals undevelopeed and unexposed plates

July 3rd Instantaneous
Plate 1 (7) Rushmore House Exterior sun not shining stop no 2 exposure about 1 1/2 seconds [Added]undeveloped
Plate 2 (8) View of Gates Rushmore (with storks) same as regards light &c as No 1 undeveloped underexposed
Plate 3 (9) View of statue &c ditto as regards light &c

Page 44 [marked 51 on top]

Plate 1 view from back of Gros Gardens no stop used
Plate 2 Mr James taken in the dining room G.G. 3 seconds

"Instantaneous plate
July 1st Monday
Plate 1 King John's House new from Garde above similar to sketch Good light abt 5 oclock stop no 4 exposure 1 second
Plate II  K.J.'s Hs  new from near Entrance gate Light &c same as above

July 2nd "Instantaneous plates"
Plate 3 K.J.'s Hs Staircase Interior exposure 5 seconds
Plate 4 Ditto exposure 10 Good light small lens
Plate 5 Statue of Caesar Augustus at Rushmore about 25ft

Page 45 [marked 52 on top]

4 to 5 Friday
June 28th Ordinary Plates
Views of Battersea Park
[Added on side] Plates successful
Plate 1 exposed about 15 seconds no 4 stop
Plate 2 ditto 20 seconds same stop Good light in both cases Bridge in B. Park Strong sunlight 4 stop about 15 seconds
Plate 4 View on lake with foreground of water plants &c Exposed abt 20 seconds stop no 4 strong light
Plate 5 Interior exposure terra cotta objects exposed 2 minutes
Plate 6 Interior exposure terra cotta vase exposed 2 minutes Light very good

Page 46 [marked 53 on top]

Measures glass
10 oz 4 oz 2 drams

Houghton 89 Holbourn
10 x 8 front opal glass with yellow fabric for oil (make allowance for more air)

Printing fumes
3 whole plate with glass beds and felt pads

7 1/2 x 5 cutting glass plate glass abt. 1 ft sq for cutting point.

1/4 [illegible] Sensitised paper
finely ground focussing screen glass

4 to 5 Friday

Page 47 [marked 54 on top]

avoiding lumps and put under pressure

Bromide of Potassium 1/4 lb
Ammonia (strong) 1 lb 880
Hypo sulphite of soda 7 lbs (stone jar)
Pulverised Alum 2 lbs
Pulverised Borax 1/4 lb
Tube of Chloride of Gold 15 gram

For developing
For Hypo specialty 1
2 Porcelain dishes 11 x 9 deep
Deep papier-mache for developing 7 1/2 x 5
For toning &c for Fixing alone porcelain
1 12 x 10 deep dish
2 13 x 11 deep dish

Page 48 [marked 55 on top]

When finished place prints in water bath (still sensitive) Remember dull [insert] white [end insert] light to be used

4 Fixing
4 oz Hypo to pint of water fresh every time

Keep one dish entirely for Hypo
Avoid Hypo until toning is done
Wash prints in this fixing bath 1/4 hours turning over and over Do not let hand which is touching Hypo solution get near other prints
5 Wash prints for 3 hours in running water

Glenfield patent starch mix with boiling water till like jelly when cold rub well in to back of print
avoiding lumps and put

Page 49 [marked 56 on top]

separately till no milkiness
10 minutes
Remove soluble salts

No 2 wash 2 or 3 minutes in water which has 1 tablespoon common soda
Wash once in clean water

3 Take 15 gum Chloride of gold bottle put into large bottle with 15 drams of water shake up till bottle breaks We leave [?] now at a 10% p chloride of gold solution
Take 1 dram of this to about [insert] 10-12 [end insert] 12-14  half plate prints and put into tray with enough water to cover the points add 30 grs of Borax to 1 dram of chloride of gold solution
put prints in one by one separately carefully and keep moving turning over and over

1/4 hour to 20 mn Soon till all redness disappears and purple results

Page 50 [marked 57 on top]

Use Hypo over and over again

20 [illegible]

[insert] It [end insert] washes off all un-decomposed silver salts
Wash negative 1 hour [insert] and over [end insert] in running water
(Not all night) to
to remove every trace of Hypo
Alum bath to be used if found necessary (frilling)
Thoroughly dry
This is absolutely necessary

Print till up in different light in the open air till just spoiled

No 1 Thoroughly wash prints changing water often turning each print over separately till no

Page 51 [marked 58 on top]

A 40 minims (drops)
B 30 ditto
C 60 30 ditto
Fill up to 2 oz [insert] 3 ozs [end insert]
Ammonia to be varied according to rapidity of development begin with say 30 minims Develope [sic] until the [illegible, possibly darkest] parts (which are light) are almost jet black
If overexposed diminish 3 [insert] C [end insert] and increase 2 A
Begin with too little ammonia 1/2 quantity say

1 Developer
2 Check Development
3 Assists development
[insert] Be careful to wash [end insert]

Saturated solution of Hypo Immerse plate till all whiteness disappears 1 to 5 minutes

Page 52 [marked 59 on top]

No 5 plate as No 4 in every respect but with exposure of 20 seconds (Light the same)
No 6 plate Bronze statuette against white or light background. 5 ft from object to lens. Light failing so exposed for 4 minutes.
un[inser]der[end insert]exposed [Added] 3 or 4 times as long

Developement [sic] % [Added] 10 per cent solution
Bottle A Pyro
Pyro 1 oz
Citric acid 60 grams = 1/8 oz
Water up to [insert] 9 1/8 [end insert[] 10 ozs [fluid ozs]

Bottle B Bromide
Bromide of Ammonia 1 oz
Add water up to 10 oz.

Bottle C
Liquid Ammonia 1 oz
Water up to 10 ozs

Page 53 [marked 60 on top]

For 7 1/2 x 5 plate you require 3 oz of developer
Alum bath to be used after developing
2 oz of alum to 1 pint of water

Fixing bath
4 ozs of Hypo sulphite of soda to 1 pint (20 ozs) of water

10 to 11 Thursday

Exterior views
No 1 plate view of Lodge on Putney Heath about 200 ft distant (weak light) exposure about 6 seconds No 2 stop used [Added] Successful
No 2 plate same view but nearer by about 50 ft exposure about 5 seconds
No 3 plate same as no 2
No 4 plate specimen of object interior work terra cotta 5 ft 4 in from object to lens exposure 10 seconds full

Page 54 [marked 61 on top]

at 15 to 20 ft 15 minims
20 to 30 ft 20 minims
In cases of very strong contrast always use small quantities of [illegible]

B Formula for open subjects 30 ft to 100 yds such as landscapes architecture &c copying plans and drawings subjects which display only slight contrasts
Pyro 20 to 40 minims per oz
Bromide equal
Ammonia 1/2 to 2/3
to be made up to [illegible] oz with water
As the distance increases increase the strength of the developer
Subjects under weak lighting require stronger developer than if strongly lighted

C Formula for distant landscapes all subjects shewing very slight contrasts
Pyro 40 to 80 minims
Bromide and Ammonia 1/2 to 2/3
Made up to 1 oz with water

Page 55 [marked 62 on top]

10 per cent solution

No 2 1 oz of Bromide of Potassium
10 oz of water

No 3 Ammonia
1 oz of strong ammonia 88 and 9 oz of water

Formula for Mixed Developers
A Formula for near objects up to 30 ft from the camera such as carvings statuary details objects in showing relief &c All subjects of whatever nature which display strong contrasts Pyro 10 to 20 minims
Whatever quantity of Pyro is [illegible] take 1/2 quantity of Bromide and 1/2 to 2/3 of ammonia The greater quantity in cold weather
These amounts to be made up to 1 fluid oz with water
For near objects 10 ft away 10 minims of pyro would be sufficient
3 ozs for 7 1/2 x 5

[Added to side of page] 10 / 5/ 5 or 6 2/3 and 60 / 30 / 30

Page 56 [marked 63 on top]

Interior Work
Moderate sized objects such as vases &c about 3 ft from wall Light to fall on it generally at 45 [degrees]
Avoid top lights
Background of course to suit object
Brown paper suitable for light objects
Reflected lights
Shut out other lights opposed to the principal source of light.
Keep lens shaded
It is advisable to have a changing box containing as many as 18 plates

Developement [sic]
1 Solution Pyrogalic Acid
2 Solution Bromide of Potassium
3 Solution Ammonia
No 1 used is Sulpho Pyro which is supplied by the Platinotype Co 29 Southampton Row 10 oz bottles 2/2 per bottle

Page 57 [marked 64 on top]

The nearest [illegible] portion of the sun is not shining,
In bright sunlight the exposures are much shorter
1/2 second for an object 10 ft away
1/2 second for an object 10 to 30 ft
1/8 second for an object 30 to 100 ft
1/10 second for an object beyond this
With each smaller sized stop the exposure is doubled
When sunlight falls from 25 [degrees] to 16 [degrees] the exposure is doubled
16 [degrees] to 8 [degrees quadrupled
Always let your lighting and exposure suit the principal object
Always be guided in the exposures by the [illegible] portions of the subject
During the winter months double this table of exposures
In places where the light is shut out the exposure can be lengthened

[Added along side] 4 / 8 / 16   32 /64 / 128

Page 58 [marked 65 on top]

The following table of exposures will hold good
Good summer light no sky or white clouds, sun 28 [degrees] above horizon whether shining on the whole of the subject or not using the so called instantaneous plates
Whatten and Wainwright 38 Gt Queen St. for best plates
Full aperture of portable symmetrical line
10 ft   4 seconds
10 ft to 30 ft     2 seconds
30 ft to 100 ft    1 second
100 ft to 100 yds    1/2 second
100 yds to 1/4 mile    1/4 second
Beyond this    1/8 second
The distance is always measured for exposure from the nearest prominent portion of the subject which is not in sunlight or from

Page 59 [marked 66 on top]

It is advisable to shade top of lens to cut away light from above
In dull weather or even in sun good work can be done with near subjects

Moderate distances
Objects should always be taken with diffused sunlight such as is given when the sun is behind a thin white cloud.
Time most suitable before 11 and after 3
Avoid strong light upon foliage when view to camera
The sun may be behind the camera or to one side not too high in the sky
Air quite clear and free from mist

Distant subjects beyond 100 yds
Always taken in full sunlight with the sun shining on the view Time of day not so much an object as in the last [Linked by line to above 'Air quite clear and free from mist' Ditto more particularly in this [illegible]

Page 60 [marked 67 on top]

In taking off the cap be careful that the movement is done quickly (avoiding jerking) and moved upwards
In doing this stand clear of the camera and stand
It is as well to release the cap before exposing the opening

tomorrow at 3 oclock

(Lens required 8 in. Ross portable symmetrical)

Lighting Near subjects 30 ft
For out door work best suited to a subject depends on the distance from the camera
Near subjects best taken minus sunlight
If sun is shining move objects to shade where possible

In bright weather the best time is early in the morning or late in the evening
If possible have a background abut 12 ft from the object
If possible shut out top light also on one side
[It is advisable to shade top of lens ]

Page 61 [marked 68 on top]

[Calculations headed 'Back' 'Ground''Rise''Fall'

Transcribed by AP September 2011

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