Girl with a parasol sitting on a bench, 1908.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
An autochrome of her daughter sitting under a tree, taken by Etheldreda Janet Laing. Next to her, a basket overflows with ribbons and thread as she holds a length of fabric she may be embroidering. She carries a parasol to shade her face from the bright sunshine. In the summer of 1908 Laing took a series of autochrome portraits of her children in the garden of 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.