British photographic history

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Letterhead collection of Edwardian photographers

At the Photographica 2022 event, which took place in London yesterday, 22 May, I noticed on one of the dealers’ tables a collection of around 100 old letters/letterheads from photographic companies and the like. The letters were in transparent plastic sleeves in a loose binder and seemed to date from the Edwardian period (I noticed dates of 1903, 1909, etc.) and some from earlier, I think. The dealer wanted around £800 for the collection.

As I am an early cinema historian, my interest was aroused by a 2-page letter from Calder Cinematograph, which would presumably be the company of Robert Calder, one of the first film showmen in Scotland (see ). However, many of the other letters would be of great interest to historians of stills photography.

I omitted to get the name of the dealer (who didn’t have a business card), but he would, no doubt, be known to members of the Photographic Collectors Club. I suggest that such a rare letterhead collection should be acquired by a national institution such as the RPS, V&A, or British Library.


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