British photographic history

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Research: Dr John Lee FRS, FRAS astronomer, Hartwell House, unrecorded ambrotypes?

I am researching these two ambrotypes, recently acquired through eBay. They appear to be images of John Lee, Astronomer, Numismatist, 1858 and 1861, antiquarian, philosopher, et al. of Hartwell House, Buckinghamshire.

I can only find one actual photographic image of Dr. Lee, an apparent albumen, via the Science Photo Library website here.

These two ambrotypes are in remarkably good condition, and quite large. The first is 9 x 12cm, and the second 12 x 15cm, visible areas, I am assuming that the actual sizes are larger.

Ink inscriptions on the back indicate that these were taken by 'George Axtel'. My preliminary research finds no such photographer. Maybe it was mistaken for Axtell?

I would posit that the Royal Meteorology Society, or Royal Astronomical Society, or Society of Antiquaries would want these.

Are these unrecorded images of Dr. Lee?   Any guesses out there?

Many Thanks,   David

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Comment by David McGreevy on January 27, 2017 at 20:43

Thanks, Mike, I think that the print you referenced looks  like him~


Comment by Mike Ware on January 23, 2017 at 11:08

The Museum of the History of Science in Oxford has a lithographic print of Dr John Lee, here:

among other information on him.

Comment by Larry J Schaaf on January 23, 2017 at 7:51

John, congratulations!  Dr Lee has always been one of my favorite people - in fact, he is the one who preserved the manuscript for Sir John Herschel's first paper on photography and also a lot of Charles Piazzi Smyth material.  Your images are consistent with what I remember of his face.  When back home later in the week I'll dig out some of Piazzi's sketches of him.  Provisionally, I think you have a winner.

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