Autochrome of a young girl, c 1910.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
An autochrome of a young girl sitting on a balcony next to a bowl of flowers, taken by Etheldreda Janet Laing in about 1910. The young girl, her faced shadowed by her straw bonnet, is possibly one of Janet Laing's own daughters. As a young woman Laing studied art in Cambridge and became an enthusiastic amateur photographer. When autochrome plates first came on the market in 1907, she decided to try her hand at colour photography. 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.