British photographic history

Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history

Hello all

I am often sent privately-owned ambrotypes to work on. Most of them are dateable from dress to the mid-late 1850s or early 1860s but occasionally there is a query as to whether they could possibly be pre- 1854, the year when I understand (from Audrey Linkman's The Victorians: Photographic Portraits) that restrictions to the use of the wet collodian process were finally removed.

I can't seem to find out much more about its early history betweeen 1851 and the end of 1854. Does anyone know for sure whether any commercial photographers were likely to have been using the process and producing ambrotype portraits during these years?

If anyone can suggest any answer to this query I'd be very interested and grateful!

Thank you,

Jayne

Views: 920

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

OK. Well this advertisement, dated 3 April 1852, appears to offer some evidence that at least one well known London studio photographer was prepared to dip his toe in the Fox-infested waters.
Attachments:
You've done some sleuthing, haven't you Brett...This is an interesting ad and ties in with my wandering thoughts following our discussion - that presumably Fox Talbot would only have known if others were producing ambrotypes if they openly advertised their work, detailing the processes used. I bet some provincial studios escaped his eagle eye. I'd like to think that Mayall was perhaps being deliberately confrontational here. Or maybe he was referring to collodion prints, and not ambrotypes? I don't know much about Mayall's work.

Brett Payne said:
OK. Well this advertisement, dated 3 April 1852, appears to offer some evidence that at least one well known London studio photographer was prepared to dip his toe in the Fox-infested waters.
Hi Brett,

I would be a little wary of Gernsheim's writing as when I was researching Archer he made a basic error on Archer's death date which would have been easy to have checked. It was because of that I decided to only trust original documentation.

Best wishes,

John.
In answer to your specific query about 1851-1854 I would suggest - and the evidence seems to show this - that the wet-collodion process had a slow take up after 1851. It required other experimenters to take Archer's published process and develop it further to produce a more workable process that could be used commercially. It wasn't until c1853/54 that there was a rapid rise in the number of studios once a practical process had been developed and Talbot's threat of litigation against those using collodion had disappeared. This might explain why there are relatively few wet-collodion portraits before c1854.

regards

Michael Pritchard
Thanks Michael, that certainly makes sense and fits in with the evidence of surviving ambrotypes. Thanks to several members' input, this question now seems to be clarified. Isn't it remarkable how the progress of commercial photography in those first decades can be charted almost year by year.

Regards
Jayne

Michael Pritchard said:
In answer to your specific query about 1851-1854 I would suggest - and the evidence seems to show this - that the wet-collodion process had a slow take up after 1851. It required other experimenters to take Archer's published process and develop it further to produce a more workable process that could be used commercially. It wasn't until c1853/54 that there was a rapid rise in the number of studios once a practical process had been developed and Talbot's threat of litigation against those using collodion had disappeared. This might explain why there are relatively few wet-collodion portraits before c1854.

regards

Michael Pritchard

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2019   Created by Michael Pritchard.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service