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De Montfort University supports early daguerreotype research

Leicester's De Montfort University will be supporting the MA research of Brian Carr on 43 extremely rare daguerreotypes. The daguerreotypes are part of the collection of Maidstone Museum where Carr, a photography enthusiast, has been a long-standing volunteer.
The valuable collection of early photographs date back to 1851 and include stills of the King of Hawaii, his wife and the Royal entourage. They were brought to Maidstone by Julius Brenchley, the third son of wealthy Maidstone brewer. He was educated at Cambridge University and undertook a scientfic expedition in 1851 to the Sandwich Islands (now known as Hawaii). He later he went on to the Great Salt Lake City, visited the plains Indians in America and brought back further images.

Brian, who took up photography at 14, said he cannot wait to get to grips with the collection: “Naturally I had read about Daguerreotypes, but actually holding one of these early images made the hairs on the back of my neck stand-up. The thought went through my mind that I am in effect travelling back 150 years and here is a person looking back at me. This is something that I have never felt with any other process. To hold a one-off Daguerreotype is to hold a slice of time, frozen into perpetuity. I am extremely honoured to have unrestricted access to such a rare collection, and hope that I can do it justice in my MA.”

The full press release is here and report from the Kent News can be found here.

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Comment by Gael Newton on November 21, 2010 at 5:52
Dear Brian

I had heard many years ago that there were Pacific daguerreotypes in a regional museum in England but could never find which one so it is marvellous to hear of the Maidstone images which may shed light on daguerreotypes only known about from newspaper reports across the Pacific. Leah Caldeira at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu could assist and you can see some of their Royal portraits at the National Gallery of Australia website for our 2008 survey exhibition Picture Paradise: Asia-Pacific photography 1840s-1940s

I wonder also if Maidstone were the successful bidders for an album of 1865 Curacao expedition Pacific views collected by Julius Brenchley. We would be very pleased to assist in any way with local information on the Pacific material Gael Newton
Comment by Mike Robinson on November 18, 2010 at 20:19
Dear Brian,
It sounds like an amazing collection. If there is anything I can do to help please feel free to contact me. I have been a practicing daguerreian artist research and scholar for the past 12 years and am currently president of the Daguerreian Society.
best, Mike Robinson, Toronto CANADA

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