Haunting colour pictures of England before the First World War...

These pictures were taken in August 1913, one year before the outbreak of World War One. The first two pictures were taken in Cornwall, and the final one was taken in London - all by Auguste Leon.

Leon was working for Albert Kahn, a French banker and philanthopist who, at this time, had a house in Cornwall. In total, Kahn’s photographers took 72,000 colour images of 50 countries to form “The Archives of the Planet“.

The colour images in the Archives are all Autochromes, or Autochrome Lumiere - a very early colour photographic process developed by the Lumiere brothers, and first commercially available in 1907. Autochromes used a random mosaic of potato starch mixed with lamp-black as the basis of their fixing material.

The second picture shows an alley in St. Ives. The third picture is of a residential street in North London. Can anyone identify the locations of the first and third pictures?

All pictures (c) Musee Albert-Kahn. For more of Albert Kahn’s images, see David Okuefuna’s “The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn“.

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