Rupert Brooke, 1913 Limited Edition Platinum Print

“In all photography there is nothing more beautiful, or more everlastingly permanent, or more completely satisfying to the cultivated eye, than the platinum print.” John A Tennant, The Photo Miniature, July 1911

For the first time the National Portrait Gallery is making available some of its most treasured and iconic images from its collection as limited edition platinum prints. Created from the original negatives and glass plates, all the fine details and subtleties have been faithfully reproduced in this exquisite and truly archival photographic printing process.

Launching the series and coinciding with the exhibition ‘The Great War in Portraits’ are two portraits of Rupert Brooke, the famous war poet of the First World War. Photographed by Sherril Schell in 1913 they are the most iconic images of Brooke who tragically died two years after they were taken.

Available as individual prints in an edition of 20 and as a Collectors set in an edition of 10. The Collectors set includes both portraits presented in a hand made portfolio with the complete six verse poem ‘1914’ written by Rupert Brooke enclosed.

(Prints are easily removed from Portfolio’s to be mounted/framed, Price increase as the edition sells, Each print is numbered and authenticated with the National Portrait Gallery & Platinum Print Editions stamp on the verso. No further editions will be printed.)

Print sizes are the same as the glass negatives held within the National Portrait Gallery Archive: 10 x 12 inches.

Price: £600.00

Members price: £540.00


Platinum prints are loved by photographers and treasured by collectors because of their wide tonal range, surface quality and permanence. Although time consuming and costly to create, a fine platinum print exhibits a broad range of subtle tonal variations from rich velvety blacks to luminous mid and high tone values, in the deepest shadows the platinum print still presents information; the depth of the image is alive and three-dimensional.

Prints made with platinum are not only exceptionally beautiful; they are the most durable of all the photographic printing processes. The platinum and palladium metals used to create a print are more stable than gold and will last many generations greatly surpassing all other modern printing methods.

Historically many great photographers have printed in platinum including Peter Henry Emerson, Frederick H Evans, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Stand, Edward Weston, Edward S Curtis, Irving Penn. Stieglitz called the platinum print ‘The Prince of all media,: one of the oldest, rarest, most refined, and stable of all black & white photographic printing processes.’

Platinum prints are created by hand one at a time and are far removed from the world of mass produced silver-based papers and modern media for digital outputs. There is no reliance on factory prepared materials; each print in an edition being executed individually as though is was the only example of that image, an unrepeatable dialogue between the image, chemistry and the printer's skill. Even within a short edition of the same image; each print carries diverse subtleties making it a unique interpretation in itself. Very few master platinum printers remain worldwide capable of printing editions in this highly delicate and elaborate manner.

The Printing Process

The creation of a fine platinum print is the result of following an intricate series of steps and begins with preparing a light sensitive solution containing platinum and palladium salts. This solution is then brushed onto specially selected fine art paper where it is absorbed deep into the fibres creating a sumptuous and completely matte surface. Once dried it is then placed in contact with a negative and exposed to ultraviolet light. The exposed paper is placed in a developer, where metal salts are reduced back to a metallic state forming the image. It is then carried through a series of clearing baths. The print that emerges from the final wash consists of nothing but particles of precious metals permanently embedded in the fibres of the paper.

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