British photographic history

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Hi all

A new biography on Polish born photographer Marcus Guttenberg has just been published on Ron Cosen's website: http://www.cartedevisite.co.uk/photographers-category/biographies/m.... Beginning in the daguerreotype era in Europe, Guttenberg is noted for his carte de visite work in England. Although he worked in the North, Guttenberg is perhaps best known for his time in Bristol and several of his family were also involved in photography. Comments to Ron Cosens enquiries@cartedevisite.co.uk are welcome.

Marcel Safier

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks, Marcel, for drawing our attention to this excellent biography. Well done, Ron, it makes very interesting reading. How fascinating that Friese Green was his apprentice.

I was delighted to read more about Guttenberg, as I devote a paragraph to him in my book, Whitby Photographers their lives and their photographs from the 1840s. As Ron says, he advertised in Whitby in 1859, and I show copies of three different adverts he placed. On 22 October 1859 he states “having come to Whitby at the solicitation of several gentlemen in the town and neighbourhood to take a number of portraits” he set up “opposite Field House” and offered “Portraits taken from miniature to life size, and finished in oil or in water colours. Miniatures on Ivory”. The following week he advertised that he would be in Whitby from 10 till 4, implying that he was working most days in Whitby; perhaps he had moved there temporarily.  On 31 December 1859, still “opposite Field House” he advertised “Calotype or talbotype portraits on paper on ivory” and he was selling portraits of the local M.P. for 5s each.

By contrast, in August 1861, Guttenberg’s advert in the Whitby Gazette shows his address as Falsgrave Walk, Scarborough, and he states that he will only be in Whitby one day a week, at Mr Consitt’s Photographic Gallery in Skinner Street every Thursday. Consitt was a jet manufacturer, who had a brief but seemingly unsuccessful foray into photography. Guttenberg, who thanked clients who had patronised him the previous summer, intended to be in Whitby during July, August and September. Negatives would be taken to Scarborough for finishing and available in Whitby the following Thursday, or by post, if required.

Whitby had two resident photographers at this time, William Stonehouse (from c.1847) and Francis Ridley Pickernell (from 1856). Whitby was expanding; many new homes and lodging houses were built on West Cliff and the Royal Hotel was opened in 1849. 

Stonehouse and Pickernell had faced other seasonal competition, when George Cussons, a watchmaker and jeweller, advertised likenesses in 1856, but only for a short time; the following year his goods were sold to pay creditors. In 1857 George Rowley of 69 King Street, Manchester, and Promenade, Southport, stayed in Whitby a few weeks from August. Like Guttenberg, Alfred Goodchild (who would later settle in Redcar) was in Whitby for three seasons, but from 1858. He also visited neighbouring villages.  In August 1858 he advertised, “Another new discovery in Photography. Portraits taken on enamelled Cloth for transmission by Post”.

What is known about this process? Was it much used?

Ruth Wilcock.

Ruth,

Good to hear from you and thanks very much for your insights into Guttenberg's career. I wonder how many examples of his work there survive?

Photos on cloth and leather (pannotypes) were uncommon but certainly possible with collodion.

"These direct positive collodion images were made on glass and transferred onto a secondary support material by placing the glass plate bearing the image in an acidified water bath that caused the collodion film to shrink. The secondary support was then placed in the water and the two were taken out of the bath with the image in contact with the surface of the secondary support. The back of the support was then pressed against the glass with a squeegee and the plate. The back of the plate was then gently heated until the image and support fell from the glass. Often called pannotypes, from the Latin word pannos meaning cloth, these images were transferred onto black oil cloth, patent leather, and black enameled paper." (Mark Osterman. 2007. Pannotype. In The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography: Digital Imaging, Theory and Applications, History, and Science, ed. Michael R. Peres, 100, Focal Press)

It is also interesting to see these photographers taking advantage of the seasonal trade as they no doubt also did in Scarborough. As I mentioned to you I have been taking a look at Sarony's career.

I also recently read your two articles on postcard photographers of Whitby in the Picture Postcard Monthly and the separate article on Ross' postcard work in Whitby.

Cheers! Marcel, Brisbane, Australia



Marcel Safier said:

Ruth,

Good to hear from you and thanks very much for your insights into Guttenberg's career. I wonder how many examples of his work there survive?

Photos on cloth and leather (pannotypes) were uncommon but certainly possible with collodion.

"These direct positive collodion images were made on glass and transferred onto a secondary support material by placing the glass plate bearing the image in an acidified water bath that caused the collodion film to shrink. The secondary support was then placed in the water and the two were taken out of the bath with the image in contact with the surface of the secondary support. The back of the support was then pressed against the glass with a squeegee and the plate. The back of the plate was then gently heated until the image and support fell from the glass. Often called pannotypes, from the Latin word pannos meaning cloth, these images were transferred onto black oil cloth, patent leather, and black enameled paper." (Mark Osterman. 2007. Pannotype. In The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography: Digital Imaging, Theory and Applications, History, and Science, ed. Michael R. Peres, 100, Focal Press)

It is also interesting to see these photographers taking advantage of the seasonal trade as they no doubt also did in Scarborough. As I mentioned to you I have been taking a look at Sarony's career.

I also recently read your two articles on postcard photographers of Whitby in the Picture Postcard Monthly and the separate article on Ross' postcard work in Whitby.

Cheers! Marcel, Brisbane, Australia

 

Marcel,

Thank you very much for taking the time to post the information on pannotypes, most interesting.

Seasonal competition is a topic in itself, I feel. From his adverts it sounds as though Guttenberg actually did spend the latter part of 1859 in Whitby. It may well be that initially it gave him some respite from the competition posed by Sarony and others, yet in spite of Whitby's growth as a holiday destination, there were many more potential clients in Scarborough. Certainly Sarony was able to build up a phenomenal business there.

It seems that Guttenberg managed to expand his own business by 1860/1 to such an extent that he only found it worthwhile/needed to spend one day a week in Whitby, purely during the season. Unfortunately I haven't found a Guttenberg carte-de-visite from Whitby - as yet!

Incidentally, Marcel, when we were visiting our daughter and family in New Zealand over Christmas I found a couple of article on cdvs. We just missed an exhibition of CDVs at the Adam Art Gallery in Wellington, so I had to be content with an article about it; if you are interested I can send you a copy. I have another on William Colenso and the daguerreotype too. We saw a wondereful collection of modern daguerreotypes by Alan Bekhuis in the Wellington Portrait Gallery [http://www.portraitgallery.nzl.org/exx/mom1.html]. Next time we must go to see the collection of CDVs in Auckland Art Gallery!!

 

Best wishes,

Ruth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth, if you ever find a Guttenberg cdv from Whitby do let me see it. However I think he was in Whitby a bit too early for cdv and in 1860 or 1861 probably produced Whitby portraits on his Scarborough mounts.

 

Cheers Ron
 
Ruth Wilcock said:



Marcel Safier said:

Ruth,

Good to hear from you and thanks very much for your insights into Guttenberg's career. I wonder how many examples of his work there survive?

Photos on cloth and leather (pannotypes) were uncommon but certainly possible with collodion.

"These direct positive collodion images were made on glass and transferred onto a secondary support material by placing the glass plate bearing the image in an acidified water bath that caused the collodion film to shrink. The secondary support was then placed in the water and the two were taken out of the bath with the image in contact with the surface of the secondary support. The back of the support was then pressed against the glass with a squeegee and the plate. The back of the plate was then gently heated until the image and support fell from the glass. Often called pannotypes, from the Latin word pannos meaning cloth, these images were transferred onto black oil cloth, patent leather, and black enameled paper." (Mark Osterman. 2007. Pannotype. In The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography: Digital Imaging, Theory and Applications, History, and Science, ed. Michael R. Peres, 100, Focal Press)

It is also interesting to see these photographers taking advantage of the seasonal trade as they no doubt also did in Scarborough. As I mentioned to you I have been taking a look at Sarony's career.

I also recently read your two articles on postcard photographers of Whitby in the Picture Postcard Monthly and the separate article on Ross' postcard work in Whitby.

Cheers! Marcel, Brisbane, Australia

 

Marcel,

Thank you very much for taking the time to post the information on pannotypes, most interesting.

Seasonal competition is a topic in itself, I feel. From his adverts it sounds as though Guttenberg actually did spend the latter part of 1859 in Whitby. It may well be that initially it gave him some respite from the competition posed by Sarony and others, yet in spite of Whitby's growth as a holiday destination, there were many more potential clients in Scarborough. Certainly Sarony was able to build up a phenomenal business there.

It seems that Guttenberg managed to expand his own business by 1860/1 to such an extent that he only found it worthwhile/needed to spend one day a week in Whitby, purely during the season. Unfortunately I haven't found a Guttenberg carte-de-visite from Whitby - as yet!

Incidentally, Marcel, when we were visiting our daughter and family in New Zealand over Christmas I found a couple of article on cdvs. We just missed an exhibition of CDVs at the Adam Art Gallery in Wellington, so I had to be content with an article about it; if you are interested I can send you a copy. I have another on William Colenso and the daguerreotype too. We saw a wondereful collection of modern daguerreotypes by Alan Bekhuis in the Wellington Portrait Gallery [http://www.portraitgallery.nzl.org/exx/mom1.html]. Next time we must go to see the collection of CDVs in Auckland Art Gallery!!

 

Best wishes,

Ruth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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