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Calotype, 8-7/8 x 12 in. (225 x 305 mm), 1855-56/1855-56, unmounted. The son of a silk merchant, George Hilditch (1803-1857) even in boyhood took a keen interest in drawing and painting from nature. From the time of his first contribution in 1823 until his early death, he exhibited regularly in the Royal Academy.

Hilditch, widely known as “The Richmond Painter,” was fascinated with the landscape of this important town near London. With his devotion to truth to nature, it is not surprising that photography would capture his interest. In the ground-breaking 1852 exhibition at the Society of Arts in London, Hilditch contributed 13 architectural and landscape views done with paper negatives, along with collodion portraits. In 1854 Hilditch still favored the calotype but also contributed a few waxed-paper views to the exhibitions of the Royal Infirmary Fund in Dundee and the Photographic Society in London. By the time of the society’s 1855, 1856, and 1857 exhibitions, Hilditch was doing all of his architectural work on waxed paper, concentrating on London and its environs. To the end, Hilditch approached his subject matter with the same skill using his camera as he did his paints.

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