British photographic history

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Bath in Camera 1849 to 1861 - The Lockey Photographs

As mentioned in an earlier BPH blog, the BRLSI is in the process of mounting an important new exhibition of the Rev Francis Lockey's work who was born in the late 19th century and died in 1869.  The Rev Lockey used the calotype photographic process, which had been patented by WH Fox Talbot and he used it to take masses of photographs of both Bath and the surrounding districts during the years from 1849 to 1861. 

The Rev Lockey and his family lived in Swainswick in the house known as Swainswick Cottage. The building survives today, complete with Lockey's purpose built photographic printing studio.  The earliest surviving images, including one of Bath Abbey dates from 1849 and were taken within eight years of the invention of the calotype process in 1841 by Fox Talbot of Lacock Abbey.

Gill Silversides at BRLSI says: "Although no paper evidence currently exists of correspondence between Francis Lockey and William Henry Fox Talbot, Lockey did produce photographs of the cloisters in Lacock Abbey in the mid 1850s, which would suggest direct contact between Fox Talbot as the inventor of the technique and Lockey.

Full details of the Bath in Camera 1849-1861 exhibition can be found here. A collection of 62 of the surviving plates are printed in a book entitled Shadows and Light by David McLaughlin and Michael Gray which can be bought for £5 at BRLSI reception, or you can try the Amazon link on the right.

A launch event where Michael Gray will explain how the prints were produced will be held on 14th Jan at 7pm. The full news report can be found here.




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