British photographic history

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Christie's is offering in an auction of Travel, Science and Natural History on 25 April 2012 a camera obscura 'associated with' Nevil Story-Maskelyne, an early photographer who was close to Henry Fox Talbot and his circle.  The catalogue text reads: 

A CAMERA OBSCURA ASSOCIATED WITH NEVIL STORY-MASKELYNE, 
Jones, mid 19th century 
reflex model, the mahogany body of dovetail construction, with hinged lid, lens in wooden mount and 'push-pull' focusing front section, signed JONES Artist LONDON ; BY HIS MAJESTY'S SPECIAL APPOINTMENT No. 4, Wells Street Oxford Street. 12½in. (32cm.) long 


Provenance:

Nevil Story Maskelyne (1823-1911).

Thence by descent. 

Notes:

Nevil Story-Maskelyne (1823-1911) left law for the Natural Sciences in 1847, and was soon lecturing on mineralogy, a field he would come to lead. His research ran from the petrology of Stonehenge to developing the collection of minerals and meteorites at the British Museum into the 'largest and best arranged series ... in existence' (ODNB online). He and his wife Thereza May Llewelyn were both involved in the pioneering of photography. He was close friends of William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-77) -- whose own camera obscura is held at the Science Museum London. 


There is more on Story-Maskelyne here: Lassam, Robert E, 1980, ‘Nevil Story-Maskelyne, 1823-1911‘, History of Photography, vol.4, no.2, pp.85-93. As Luminous-Lint notes: He was a part of the social circle surrounding Henry Fox Talbot who gave him permission to learn the calotype process and he was taught by Talbot's operator Nicolaas Henneman. 


Click here for more information: http://tinyurl.com/cszlhxq

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Comment by Michael Pritchard on May 9, 2012 at 7:27

This item sold for £15,000 ($24,180) including buyer's premium and VAT. 

Comment by Michael Pritchard on April 6, 2012 at 5:28

Noel Chanan writes: The camera obscura described as 'associated with' Nevil Story Maskelyne is in fact of the eighteenth not nineteenth  century. It's first owner was Nevil Story Maskelyne's grandfather, the astronomer royal, from whom it descended to Nevil Story Maskelyne. It was previously offered for sale by Christie's, lot 301, 18 June 1981, when it failed to sell. It'll no doubt do better this time - it's a real collector's piece.

Comment by Robert Alexander Albright on April 4, 2012 at 15:38

Nevil Story-Maskelyne was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, and became Professor of Mineralogy, 1856-95.The family adopted the name of Maskelyne on Nevil's coming of age as they had inherited that family's estate at Basset Down in Wiltshire. He was Member of Parliament (MP) for Cricklade as a Liberal, 1880–1886, and as Liberal Unionist, 1886 - 92. He was also a founder member of the Swindon Camera Club, now the Swindon Photographic Society.

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