Photographs exhibited in Britain 1839-1865
Nineteenth century photographic exhibition catalogues are no less ephemeral than the photographs they commemorate. They record events that rarely ran more than a few weeks and sometimes lasted only several days. Those catalogues that have survived – and there are precious few in comparison to the number of exhibitions we know about – are often the only comprehensive record we have of individual photographers, what processes they used and what they exhibited. The database on which the publication is based took over a decade to assemble and is based on the transcribed contents of forty-six known catalogues. It details over twenty thousand individual objects and offers for the first time the most complete record of photographic activity in Britain 1839-1865. It is the photographic equivalent of the reference works of Algernon Graves which record paintings exhibited at the Royal Academy and British Institution during the 19th century. Following my residency as a Lisette Model Fellow the database was published as an Occasional Paper by the National Gallery of Canada following a detailed review that ensured that every entry was a “faithful transcription” from the original catalogue. The publication was well received, but necessarily limited in circulation, and in 2004, following a successful application to the Arts & Humanities Research Council, was released as a website following extensive research and database design. This web-based version has proved an immensely popular research tool into the history of early 19th century photographic practice and is now widely cited as a standard reference work on the period. Scholars and curators from all disciplines and nationalities have found it invaluable in their research and cataloguing responsibilities. Providing web access to the primary source materials of photography is the long term strategic goal of the university with further websites currently under development with funding from the AHRC.
Citation : Taylor, R.J. (2002) Photographs Exhibited in Britain 1839-1865. Ottowa: National Gallery of Canada.
Research Group : Photographic Studies and Creative Imaging
- Leicester Media School