View of the Small Grotto toward the Deer Pond, Bois de Boulogne Marville, Charles  (French, 1813-1879)

Drivet is not one of the early photogravure practitioners usually discussed. Waterhouse mentioned him in his essays in the Photographic News and displayed one of his prints at the Victoria and Albert. Samuel Wagstaff had a Drivet print in his photomechanical exhibit at the Grolier Club, and Andre Jammes exhibited a Drivet at his Intaglio exhibit in Switzerland. The process of Drivet for engraving plates is not described, but the principle of it can be gathered from the specification of the patent. At the same that the image of the object is exposed on a prepared collodion plate in the camera, the image of a sheet of white paper, covered with closely ruled black lines, is exposed upon the same plate, and at the same time, through another opening from an exactly opposite direction. A negative is thus obtained which would print a positive picture having the required lines in the high lights obliterated, and intensely developed in the deep shadows. A gelatin picture printed as in woodbury’s process, gives the matrix from which an electrotype plate is produced, to be printed from as an engraved copper plate the results are undoubtedly the most beautiful and practical yet achieved.

Drivet has just reappeared on the photo scene as a complete unknown. If the number 995 means what it says, his oeuvre may be considerable though only a few pieces of it are now known. One of the most "etching"-like of all "personal" photomechanical processes. It is distinctive due to its hard contrasts of black and white with few in between grays. The gentle "continuous tone” of the photo is lost in the rough demands the 3-dimensional heavy inking makes on the eye. [1]

Reproduced / Exhibited

Hanson, David Checklist of photomechanical processes and printing 1825-1910, 2017 p. 43


[1] An Exhibition on Photographic Reproduction Processes from The Collection of Samuel J. Wagstaff, Jr. at the Grolier Club. 1983

HCL 43 1867 report of the Paris commission, Waterhouse