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Colour In Darkness: Images from the First World War

Exhibition Date

Saturday 25 June 2016 to Sunday 21 August 2016

Admission

Free

Opening Hours

  1. Today
    1. 10am to 5pm
  2. Tomorrow
    1. 9am to 5pm
  3. Tuesday
    1. 9am to 5pm
  4. Wednesday
    1. 9am to 5pm
  5. Thursday
    1. 9am to 8pm
  6. Friday
    1. 9am to 5pm
  7. Saturday
    1. closed

Location

Upcoming Events

“…gems of art that have earned such universal admiration for their rare beauty and wonderful historic importance — they are actual photographs enlarged and coloured by a new secret art to Australia, known only to Colart's Studios, Melbourne, the producers of the Exhibition.” The Daily News, Perth, 1 January 1923

In the early 1920s, an exhibition of war photographs toured Australia, attracting crowds and enthusiastic reviews. Most of the photographs were taken by Australian personnel who served at Gallipoli, in the Middle East and on the Western Front. The photographs were enlarged and hand-coloured by ‘digger artists’ at Colarts Studios from smaller snapshots. In most cases, we don’t know the names of the photographers, nor the returned servicemen who coloured the images, but we do know that the exhibition was a tremendous success.

Some 90 years after the original exhibition toured the country, these prints — which came to the Library in the 1960s — are displayed together in Colour in Darkness.  

a187034_colourdark_1.jpg
About this item: 

Photographer unknown. 

 

The pictorial panorama of the Great War: embracing Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine, France, Belgium, Germany and the Navy -- from an exhibition of war photographs in natural colour / produced by Colarts Studios, Melbourne

The Light Horse returning to the coast of Phonecia
1915-1918
Colarts Studios, Melbourne
View collection item detail
Digital ID: 
a187034
a187052_colourdark_1.jpg
About this item: 

Photographer unknown.

The pictorial panorama of the Great War: embracing Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine, France, Belgium, Germany and the Navy -- from an exhibition of war photographs in natural colour / produced by Colarts Studios, Melbourne.

Gas About [German prisoners]
1915-1918
Colarts Studios, Melbourne
View collection item detail
Digital ID: 
a187052
a187010_colourdark_1.jpg
About this item: 

Photographer: Walter Ernest Dexter

This photograph is the third panel of a tryptich.

 

The pictorial panorama of the Great War: embracing Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine, France, Belgium, Germany and the Navy -- from an exhibition of war photographs in natural colour / produced by Colarts Studios, Melbourne

Anzac Cove and New Zealand Point, looking north
1915-1918
Colarts Studios, Melbourne
View collection item detail
Digital ID: 
a187010
a187012_colourdark_1.jpg
About this item: 

Photographer unknown.

The pictorial panorama of the Great War: embracing Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine, France, Belgium, Germany and the Navy -- from an exhibition of war photographs in natural colour / produced by Colarts Studios, Melbourne.

C Company, 8th Battalion AIF, at foot of pyramid Cheops Egypt in 1914
1914
Colarts Studios, Melbourne
View collection item detail
Digital ID: 
a187012
a187047_colourdark_1.jpg
About this item: 

 

Photographer unknown.

Neither the pilot nor the observer of this plane was injured. In fact, the house was the greatest sufferer, as only the under-carriage of the plane was damaged.

The pictorial panorama of the Great War: embracing Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine, France, Belgium, Germany and the Navy -- from an exhibition of war photographs in natural colour / produced by Colarts Studios, Melbourne

A remarkable crash
1915-1918
Colarts Studios, Melbourne
View collection item detail
Digital ID: 
a187047
a187056_colourdark_1.jpg
About this item: 

 

Photographer unknown. 

The pictorial panorama of the Great War: embracing Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine, France, Belgium, Germany and the Navy -- from an exhibition of war photographs in natural colour / produced by Colarts Studios, Melbourne

A Corner of Villers-Bretonneux
1915-1918
Colarts Studios, Melbourne
View collection item detail
Digital ID: 
a187056

Related events

Meet the curator

Elise Edmonds

Elise Edmonds

Elise Edmonds is a senior curator at the State Library of New South Wales and received a staff fellowship in 2009 to research the Library’s World War I collections. In 2014 she curated the exhibition, ‘Life Interrupted: personal diaries from World War I’, part of which also toured to the National Archives of Australia in 2015.

Exhibition Film: Colour in Darkness

The story behind solider photography during the First World War and the impact of colouring these already powerful images. 

Behind the Scenes of "Colour in Darkness"

Conservator Helen Casey explains the extensive work undertaken behind-the-scenes to revive the Colarts collection for display in "Colour in Darkness".  

Reviving the "Pictorial Panorama of the Great War"

Hand-coloured photographs by ‘digger artists’ are displayed together for the first time in almost 100 years.

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