Bibliotheque du Louvre Riffaut, Adolphe Pierre  (French, 1821-1859)

Considered the first continuous tone photograph printed on a page with text.

On October 7, 1854 La Lumiere had published the heliogravure following the essay on heliography, "Mémoire sur la gravure héliographique sur acier et sur verre," which Niepce de Saint-Victor had presented to the Académie des sciences two days earlier. In his presentation, Niepce had shown to the Académie des Sciences two heliogravures the Riffauts made using Niepce’s process, a portrait of Napoleon III and this plate from the Louvre. [1]

Photographer Pauline Riffaut and noted engraver, etcher and printer engraver Adolphe-Pierre Riffaut were the primary practitioners of Niépce de Saint-Victor’s process beginning in 1853. Although not always properly credited, the couple worked as a team until his internment for madness after which Pauline worked by herself. Adolphe, a noted engraver, was a colleague of Augustin Lemaître which likely explains the couple’s connection to Niepce de Saint-Victor. Madame Riffaut is singled out on a number of early plates with the imprint “Photographie sur acier par Mme Riffaut.” A portrait of Niepce de Saint-Victor himself bears the inscription "Photographie sur acier par Mme Riffaut d’apres les precedes de Mr. Niepce de Saint-Victor” [2]

L’Artiste re-published the plate in January 1856. The publication was one Riffaut’s main clients between 1840 and 1853. The first photographic project which Riffaut was involved was the publication of heliogravure Photographie Zoologique, published by Louis Rousseau and Achille Deveria.

This heliogravure had no hand work [3]

Reproduced / Exhibited

Hanson, David A. Checklist of Photomechanical Processes and Printing, 1825-1910. , 2017. p. 97.


[1] Rosen, Jeff “The Printed Photograph and the Logic of Progress in Nineteenth-Century France”, Art Journal, Vol. 46, No. 4, The Political Unconscious in Nineteenth-Century Art (Winter, 1987), pp. 305-311

[2] Hanson, David A. Checklist of Photomechanical Processes and Printing, 1825-1910. , 2017. p. 97

[3] Dec. 1854 Photographic and Fine Art Journal.

Hammann, J.-M.-Herman. Des Arts Graphiques Destinés a Multiplier Par L’impression: Considérés Sous Le Double Point De Vue Historique Et Pratique. Genève [etc.: JoëlCherbuliez, 1857 P. 461