The 19th century’s greatest writers as you’ve never seen them before. In colour.


When most of us picture the past we imagine it in black and white. Hardly surprising when you consider the history of colour photography. Although the first colour photograph was taken way back in 1861 by Thomas Sutton (the Englishman choose a tartan ribbon as his subject), it wasn’t until the 1970s that colour snaps became everyday. Consequently, colourizing photos is the only way we can get closer to our awesome ancestors.

Now thanks to better technology and maestros like Sanna Dullaway and Dana Keller this delicate art of taking old black-and-white photos and bringing them to life with colour is more popular than even.  For lovers of literarture, like us here at Ink Tank, this provides a wonderful opportunity to see our heroes in a whole new light. To celebrate this, here are seven super writers from yesteryear whose photos now look like they could have been taken yesterday.


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, circa 1920.


Hans Christian Andersen, circa 1870.


Victor Hugo, circa 1880.


Mark Twain, circa 1900.


H.G. Wells, circa 1920.


Charles Dickens, circa 1865.


Walt Whitman, circa 1887.

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bestshortstorywritersJoel Willans is the founder of Ink Tank and author of the short story collection, SPELLBOUND: Stories of Women’s Magic over Men. His prize-winning fiction has been broadcast on BBC radio and published in dozens of magazines and anthologies worldwide. You can find him on Twitter and Ello.

9 replies

  1. Silly children. Color snapshots were common throughout the 1950s and ubiquitous by the early 60s. Serious amateurs shot color transparencies because they were cheaper, but color roll film for your Kodak Brownie camera was pretty much all that was available. Black & white film was for pros.

    • Patronizing and wrong. I bet you’re a bundle of laughs to hang out with. And I quote.

      “In 1950, black-and-white snapshots were still the norm. By 1960, color was much more common but still tended to be reserved for travel photos and special occasions. Color film and color prints still cost several times as much as black-and-white, and taking color snapshots in deep shade or indoors required the use of flash bulbs, an inconvenience and an additional expense.”

      Top tip: Get your facts right before lecturing people because otherwise the only person who sounds silly is you.

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