I don't know if this the right forum to ask this question but here goes anyway. I have am interested in hand coating silver gelatin paper but given the amount of work involved need a good reason to undertake the venture.

One reason that I can think of would be to duplicate the wonderfully soft and creamy look found in portraits of the early 20th century. There may be many factors in creating a paper that can recreate this look and I wonder if anyone can give me an idea of what they might be.

One possibility that comes to mind is that modern emulsions are poured onto a thin layer of clay known as baryta which is meant to stop the emulsion from soaking into the paper surface. The purpose of this is to a) enhance the image detail and b) enhance the density of the darker tones. Papers that don't have a baryta substrate would have a softer image both in detail and in tone and thus eliminating it would be a step towards recreating the look that I am after.

Appreciate your thought on this.