Simplicité Colls, Walter  (British, 1860-1942)

The 1896 international photographic art exposition hosted by the Photo-Club de Paris, its third, was held at the Galerie Des Champs Elysées in Paris from May 12-31, 1896. Like the first two years, an elegant photogravure portfolio was published in conjunction with the show. This portfolio contains 42 photogravures and one lithographic plate-depicting an Art-Nouveau style drawing by the French artist Edme Couty. All the plates were printed by the French Atelier Charles Wittmann. Copper plates for the plate impressions were prepared by Fillon et Heuse, two by Blechinger and one each by James Craig Annan and Walter Colls.

The English copperplate engraver, amateur photographer and Linked Ring Brotherhood member Walter L. Colls (1860-1942) was the son of fine art dealer Lebbeus Colls, 1818-1897. He developed an interest in amateur photography sometime before 1885. Colls soon began exhibiting in the Royal Photographic Society exhibitions beginning in 1887 and later showed examples of his engraved commission work with them into the early 1900’s. Known by his professional Linked Ring pseudonym Aquafortist when first inducted in 1892, he later served as part of the Photographic Salon’s General Committee responsible for picture selection. In 1895, Colls received The Linked Ring’s commission to produce an annual portfolio of photogravures for the Salon exhibits from 1895-1897.

Perhaps Colls greatest role in the history of photography and photogravure is that he taught his friend, Peter Henry Emerson, the process. [1]


[1]–1896/ cited 02/24/23