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Pathé colour manual containing three fold-out cardboard tables with 107 nitrate frames, demonstrating the effects achieved by colouring film stock.

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In the 1920s, Pathé, the leading producer of film stock, published a handful of technical manuals on the development of its film for motion pictures.

As well as instructions on colouring systems of the day – significantly before technicolour – each book contained three fold-out cardboard tables containing 107 nitrate frames, demonstrating the effects achieved by colouring film stock.

There were four basic methods: hand colouring, stencil-colouring, tinting and toning. All are illustrated in the manual, as is the combined use of tinting and toning. Samples show the influence of under- and over-exposure as well as the effect of temperature on development.

The inclusion of the film samples makes the 1926 manual an important primary source for early cinema studies and the use of colouring at the time.

Debora Coltham Rare Books offers an example for £2200. The first edition, which also includes text on the use of Pathé machinery and the chemical recipes for development, is catalogued as being a good copy.

dcrb.co.uk