Two girls in Oriental costume, 1908.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
An autochrome of her daughters dressed in Japanese-style outfits, taken by Etheldreda Janet Laing in 1908. They both have flowers in their hair, which is dressed in typical geisha 'Shimada' fashion. More flower stems lie across their robes. In the summer of 1908 Laing took a series of autochrome portraits of her children at the family home, Bury Knowle. As a young woman Laing studied art in Cambridge and became an enthusiastic amateur photographer. The autochrome process was the first really practicable and commercially successful process for colour photography. Patented in 1904, it was invented by French film pioneer brothers Louis and Auguste Lumiere. Autochromes are transparent images on glass, similar to lantern slides.