|Ad for David Chillas, c.1855|
David Chillas was born in Scotland about 1817, but eventually ended up in Philadelphia. There he became an artist and a printer -- a lithographer, to be precise. Lithography had first been developed just prior to 1800, and was popular throughout the 19th Century. Using a combination of acid, wax, water, and oil-based paints on a stone plate, lithography represented the first method that allowed artists to make multiple prints of the same high quality as the original. When chromolithography was developed around 1840, artists and printers could finally mass-produce color images. It was in these early days of chromolithography that David Chillas worked in Philadelphia.