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Exploring Antique Crystoleum Art

Antique crystoleum art – nothing looks better than a collection of fine quality antique crystoleum pictures all arranged nicely on a wall – or does it?

Crystoleum, from “crystal” + “oleum” (oil), was a photographic format which appeared in the 1880s and 1890s and enjoyed a period of popularity which lasted until the Great War.

The process of crystoleum was a method of applying colour to an albumen print which was then pasted face down to the inside of a concave piece of glass. Once the adhesive (usually starch paste or gelatine) was dry, the paper backing of the print was rubbed away, leaving only the transparent emulsion on the glass. The image was then coloured by hand, using oil paints. Another piece of glass was added to the back and this could also be coloured by hand. Both pieces of glass were bound together creating a detailed, albeit fragile, image. The process was derived from the 18th century mezzotint process.

The first mention of the crystoleum is said to be found in the British newspapers. In particular, an advertisement in The Morning Post in June 1882 offering “Lessons given in this new and easily acquired Art of Painting in Oils. Proficiency guaranteed or money will be returned,” in Oxford Street, London.

Although it appears to have been very popular in late Victorian and Edwardian times, many examples won’t have survived and they may not be very common.

Yet, our expert buyers have managed to locate some lovely pieces. Here are some antique crystoleum pictures from Regent Antiques that we think you might like:

First, we have this charming antique Victorian crystoleum print on concave glass, circa 1890 in date. It depicts a young lady dressed in Georgian period costume sitting on a window ledge of a large country house feeding birds.

Exploring Antique Crystoleum Art

If the picture of a young lady is not for you then how about this superb antique Victorian crystoleum print on concave glass? It depicts a French 18th-century soiree in a grande drawing-room with beautifully dressed couples enjoying each other’s company, circa 1890 in date.

Exploring Antique Crystoleum Art

We are moving now to look at this charming antique Victorian crystoleum print on concave glass, with the copyright of Franz Hanfstaengl 1901, and signed indecipherable.  It depicts a young maiden dressed in Georgian period costume with flowers in her hair holding her pug with a sign beware set in a classical backdrop.

Exploring Antique Crystoleum Art

Beautiful, graceful and elegant  – all adjectives that could be used to describe this magnificent crystoleum print on concave glass. Circa 1880 in date, it depicts a Georgian interior scene of a young mother and daughter reclining on a Regency chaise lounge with large pots of flowers and a screen in the background.

Exploring Antique Crystoleum Art

Finally, this exquisite antique Victorian crystoleum print on concave glass, late 19th Century in date, depicting a young mother dressed in Georgian period costume holding her daughter, set in a classical backdrop.

Exploring Antique Crystoleum Art

Either one of these pictures would be a great addition to the collection of any lover of antique crystoleum art. Be sure to check our website to see many more items – who knows, you may find something you will want to own and treasure!

To discuss fine antiques and works of art with our experts just call: +44 20 8809 9605 or email: info@regentantiques.com

A visit to our north London showrooms would also enable you to see our full collection of works of art alongside our other fine antiques and other decorative items.