Studies in Newspaper and Periodical History: 1995 Annual

By Michael Harris ; Tom O'Malley | Go to book overview

6
Destined Not to Survive: The Illustrated Newspapers of Colonial Australia

Peter Dowflng

Published in Britain, North America and Australia, the illustrated newspaper is one of the most distinctive periodical forms of the nineteenth century. Illustrated newspapers epitomize the "explosion of imagery" brought about by the commercial application of Thomas Bewick's wood engraving process to mass produced, mass circulation serially issued magazines in the 1830s. 1 Charles Knight Penny Magazine ( 1832- 1845) was the first. 2

The rise of the illustrated newspapers occurred at the same time as the invention of the photograph, announced independently, by Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot in 1839. It could easily be assumed by many people in the late twentieth century that the explosion of imagery refers to the nineteenth century's embrace of photography rather than to illustrated newspapers. There was, however, to be a half-century hiatus between the development of photography in the 1830s and the development in the 1880s of the photomechanical, or halftone process, for reproducing photographs in print. 3 It is too often and too easily overlooked that the early daguerreotype process could only produce a single, positive (although reversed) image. By contrast, the negative-positive collodion wet-plate process developed in the 1850s allowed for multiple copies, as exemplified by the popular carte de visites.4 However, the only way a photograph could be reproduced in a newspaper prior to the development of the

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