niepce (2)

12200963653?profile=originalBorn one hundred and fifty years apart the achievements of the struggling landowner and inventor Nicéphore Niépce and the groundbreaking photo historian Helmut Gernsheim were inextricably linked when Gernsheim rediscovered Niépce’s long-lost first photograph in a trunk. Graham Harrison looks at the exploits of the photographer turned historian and of the brilliant, but ill-fated, Frenchman who Gernsheim proved was the true inventor of photography.

Making History: The Gernsheims and Nicéphore Niépce on Photo Histories.

With thanks to Michael Pritchard who provided information concerning Helmut Gernsheim’s membership of the Royal Photographic Society and to Sir Roy Strong who kindly answered questions about the Gernsheim Collection in Oxford in March 2013.

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The National Media Museum, Bradford, and Getty Conservation Institute, have announced a major international conference on recent advancements in scientific, art historical, and conservation research relating to the photographs which Joseph Nicéphore Niépce brought to England in 1827. The conference will take place in Bradford from 13-14 October 2010 and additionally will provide a unique opportunity to examine three Niépce plates out of their frames.

This two-day conference will present the results of new, unpublished research and scientific investigations, which have been undertaken during the NMeM and GCI Collaborative Research Project. In the Royal Photographic Society Collection at the National Media Museum are three plates by Niépce and the conference will address the research and conservation of these photographic treasures, and will discuss future conservation measures that would provide for their long-term protection and preservation. The reason why Niépce brought these plates to England, and their subsequent history, will also be outlined more fully than previously published.

A copy of the announcement brochure is available here: Niépce First Announcement.pdf

Aims and objectives

The conference will examine:

• Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and his work

• The first six photographs brought to England by Niépce in context

• Scientific investigation into the three Niépce photographs in the NMeM collection

• Dating and conservation of the original frames

• Conservation and preservation issues related to the Niépce plates

The speakers have yet to be formally announced.


Attendance to the conference is limited. All registrations will be handled on a first-come, first served basis.

Formal registration for the Niépce in England conference will take place in May 2010. To register initial interest, contact the NmeM at The museum will hold your details on file and email you registration information in May 2010.

The cost is:

• Regular registration (does not include dinner) £90

• Student registration at reduced rate £70

• Wednesday evening dinner £22


For more information, contact the museum via email at and it museum will respond to your query accordingly. If you would like to make contact by post, please send correspondence to:

Niépce Conference

c/o Cultural Events Organiser

National Media Museum

Pictureville, Bradford

West Yorkshire BD1 1NQ United Kingdom

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