In 1855 London photographer J.E. Mayall patented the Ivorytype, a photographic image printed on artificial ivory which, when coloured by an artist, closely resembled a painted ivory miniature but could made for a fraction of the cost.
By 1864 ivorytypes were being made in Adelaide. At the Adelaide Photographic Company's establishment is an excellent likeness of Bishop Patteson in ivorytype. The features and expression are beautifully caught, the softness in the finish, combined with the richness of the toning and coloring, make the tout ensemble of the picture exceedingly pleasing. There is also a likeness of His Honor Mr Justice Boothby, taken by the same process.
Hartitzsch & Hanssen were at Strathalbyn in July 1866 where they obtained an unmistakable reputation as photographers and ivorytypists, and seven months later were at Kapunda where they advertised photographs taken by the beautiful Ivorytype process. In July 1868 a correspondent from Willunga reported: The Belcher Brothers have left us after a highly successful professional visit, their ivorytype portraits being chef doeuvres in their way and in March 1869 E.J. Wivell was offering to teach photography, including the ivorytype process at Kapunda.
The material used for ivorytypes was described by Marcus Root in 1864. This imitation [ivory] is a compound of barytes and vegetable albumen which, kneaded together and rolled into sheets, is permitted to dry, and is then submitted to a polishing process whereby a surface of the smoothest texture and purest ivory color is obtained, constituting an admirable recipient for the image, as a basis for the artists operations. Plates of this material are manufactured expressly for photographs, to be colored in imitation of miniatures upon ivory, and may be procured [from Paris].
|Left: Very light image on ivorytype coloured with oils, mounted behind glass, photographer not known. Glass painted opaque white except for clear oval centre which has hand-painted black border. Original size of ivory base 2¼ x 3¼ inches.|