Monthly Archives: May 2016

Mexico in colour by William Henry Jackson, 1884-1885

Mexico in colour by William Henry Jackson, 1884-1885

Zocalo and Cathedral, Mexico City

Zocalo and Cathedral, Mexico City

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We just acquired a group of twenty photochrom prints of Mexico taken by William Henry Jackson (1843-1942) in 1884-85 and listed in the catalog of the Detroit Photographic Company. Jackson took photographs of street scenes, buildings, markets, ranches, and other subjects in Mexico City, Amecameca, Aguascalientes, Chapultepec, Chihuahua, San Marcos and Tacubaya.

The Photochrom is a photomecanical printing process invented in Switzerland in the mid 1880’s.  The prints look deceptively like color photographs. But when viewed with a magnifying glass the small dots that comprise the ink-based photomechanical image are visible. The photomechanical process permitted mass production of the vivid color prints. Each color in the final print required a separate asphalt-coated lithographic stone, usually a minimum of six stones and often more than ten stones.

The Detroit Photographic Company was launched as a photographic publishing firm in the late 1890s by Detroit businessman and publisher William A. Livingstone, Jr. and photographer and photo-publisher Edwin H. Husher. They obtained the exclusive rights to use the Swiss “Photochrom” process for the Americas.

Chapultepec

Chapultepec

Xochimilco gardens

Xochimilco gardens

Shops in Tacubaya

Shops in Tacubaya

Lavanderas, Mexico City

Lavanderas, Mexico City

The market in Aguas Calientes

The market in Aguas Calientes

Popocatepelt, view from Amecameca

Popocatepelt, view from Amecameca

Amecameca and the Iztaccihuatl

Amecameca and the Iztaccihuatl

Popocatepelt and Amecameca

Popocatepelt and Amecameca

View of Orizaba

View of Orizaba

Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes

Cathedral of Lagos de Moreno

Cathedral of Lagos de Moreno

Arbol de la Noche Triste, Popotla

Arbol de la Noche Triste, Popotla

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San Angel Inn, circa 1920

San Angel Inn, circa 1920

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn, circa 1920, viewed from where is today the Casa Estudio de Diego Rivera

We just found in Paris these charming photographs of the beloved San Angel Inn, and are happy to share them, especially with our chilango friends. Apparently, the place has not changed much in the last hundred years…

At the beginning of the XXth century, San Angel was still a mostly rural community, away from the limits of the City of Mexico. The hacienda Goicochea, originally built as a monastery in 1692, was turned into a restaurant in 1906, under the patronage of a Madame Roux – another instance of a successful French-Mexican collaboration.

E. Portilla is (barely) known as a photographer and postcard seller in San Angel Inn as early as 1908. These prints seem to date from the late 1910’s or early 1920’s.

On a more personal note, I’ll warn our non-mexican readers that San Angel Inn serves the best margaritas in the world – hands down – but also the meanest…

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

View from the roof of San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn

According to legend, Pancho Villa’s and Zapata’s horses drank in this fountain while the two generals were dividing the country’s territory into North (Villa) and South (Zapata), during their triumphant arrival to the nation’s capital with the Conventionalist Army in 1914.

San Angel Inn

San Angel Inn