Autochromes by William Van Sommer

A collection of 57 colour autochromes and 10 black and white photographs, taken by William Van Sommer (1859-1942). The autochromes, which date from 1913, portray images of the garden at Cuffnells in Weybridge; the family home of the Van Sommer family from 1901 unti 1930. Other autochromes include the earliest-known colour image of RHS Garden Wisley, as well as scenes of the Surrey landscape and gardens. The autochrome collection also includes a set of still-life flowers portraits, taken in the house at Cuffnells.

Autochromes were an early form of colour photography. Invented in France by Auguste and Louis Lumiere in 1904, the autochrome was created by dying potato starch grains, before placing them on a glass plate. Once developed, the autochrome needed to be seen through a light source, such as a magic lantern. The result was a beautiful grainy image with soft colours.