Lafollye, Charles Jules  (1817-1888)

Charles Jules Lafollye was Chief Inspector of the Telephone Lines in Tours, France as well as an amateur photographer. He also had found a way to transport directly on the lithographic stone by a process which belongs to the images given by the camera. This process is so perfect that we can immediately draw a large number of copies without having to edit the drawing. A participant in the Duc de Luynes Competition, Lafollye’s Procédé Follygraphique was exhibited at the Paris Exposition in 1867.

This publication is the only commercially published example of Lafollye’s method of photolithography. He submitted for the Luyne prize but his method was not industrialized beyond this local example. The majority of the 45 photolithographic plates use tint plates to help represent a longer tonal scale. His procedure was called “follygraphique” and these examples prepared by him were printed by Cleary-Martineau, Tours.

Lafollye exhibited at the S.F.P. in 1864 and 1865 his "stone-stamped with printing ink" tests. In a note sent to the SFP to apply for the Luynes contest in 1864 he specified that the proofs were drawn "on lithographic stone to 600 copies without the drawing having been altered in any way." [1] Marbot 1976.p. 88.

The de Luynes committee states, “M. de la Follye also uses the mixture of gelatine (or of gum) and bichromate, with which he covers a sheet of paper, as do MM. Asser and Toovey. After exposure, he puts the sheet on water, and then places the moist sheet on lithographic stone, which, according to its permeability, it leaves more or less gummed; he then inks this stone by placing on it a sheet of paper previously covered in ink by means of a roller. This small detail in manipulation would not constitute a new invention—any more than a second device, by which he proposes to ink the sheet of paper on which is the image, by applying it directly on a stone previously blackened in the same manner.” [2]


[1] Marbot, Bernard, and Rider G. Le. Une Invention Du Xixe Siècle, Expression Et Technique: La Photographie: Collections De La Société Française De Photographie [, Paris. Exp., Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, Inaugurée Le 10 Juin 1976]. Paris, 1976. p. 88.

[2] Waterhouse, James, “Report of the Commission of the French Photographic Society for awarding the Prize of 8000 francs founded by the Duc de Luynes for printing Photographs in Ink.”,The Journal of the Photographic Society of London, vol. 12, London, June 15, 1867, pg. 64, July 16 1867, pgs. 68-76.

Hanson, David Checklist of photomechanical processes and printing 1825-1910, 2017