matters photographical

Giles Hudson

Dating Excursions daguerriennes

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The date (or dates) of publication of Noël Paymal Lerebours’ Excursions daguerriennes is often confused. At least five different covers and titlepages exist, dated 1840, 1841, 1842 and 1844. Happily, references in various French periodicals allow the publication history of the work at least partially to be reconstructed. Read more of this post

Minna Keene (1861–1943): Pictorial Portraitist

During the 1900s women became increasingly active in pictorial portraiture. Minna Keene (1861–1943) was one of the most accomplished practitioners of the genre. Her photographs were regularly seen in the popular photographic journals, as well as in several solo exhibitions. Read more of this post

Stereograms and the Standardization of Anatomical Observation: Arthur Thomson’s Anatomy of the Human Eye


Stereograms and the Standardization of Anatomical Observation: Arthur Thomson’s The Anatomy of the Human Eye, 1912

“One is hearing now, in this country at least, that in the near future we may look for a great revival of stereo photography, and if the rumor is well founded and turns out to be fulfilled prophecy, we may expect once more to find the stereoscope ‘on every drawing-room table,’ as of yore.” Thus wrote the photographic journalist Andrew Pringle in 1892, thirty years after the first, golden age of the stereoscope had passed. Read more of this post

Pre-Raphaelite Photography: Sarah Angelina Acland and Millais’s Portrait of Ruskin at Glenfinlas

The announcement of the acquisition by the Ashmolean Museum of John Everett Millais’s celebrated portrait of John Ruskin marks a new chapter in the history of a painting that not only has an important place in the grand narrative of the history of art, but also a more private history, through one of Ruskin’s pupils, the photographer Sarah Angelina Acland. Bequeathed by Ruskin to her father Henry Wentworth Acland, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, for three decades the portrait hung over Miss Acland’s writing desk in her home opposite the Sheldonian Theatre. As well as treasuring the painting as a likeness of her close friend and mentor in artistic matters, in the late 1890s Miss Acland also used the work as a test subject in her experiments in orthochromatic photography, which she pursued in the spirit of the Pre-Raphaelites, around whom she had grown up.

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Russian Domestic – Colours of Verhniy Poselok

Colours of Verhniy Poselok – the “Upper Village” – Bugulma, Tatarstan
Верхний Посёлок, Бугульма, Татарстан

Domestic architecture in Russian villages is typified by wooden houses, which are often painted in bright colours to protect against the hard frosts and equally fierce summer sun. The wood is supplemented by tin for chimneys, aerials and mailboxes, and by heavy steelwork for fences, doors and gates. In Bugulma, a railway town with a large marshalling yard, materials from the rollingstock and tracks are often reclaimed for use. The resulting architecture has its own taxonomy of forms, and a vocabulary and grammar of colours and textures that evolves as the weather leaves its mark. Traditional village building in Russia survived the influence of the Stalinist architecture that swept through city centres, but is now slowly being superseded by concrete and masonry.


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Reviews of Sarah Angelina Acland: First Lady of Colour Photography

Daily Telegraph


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Shots of Shots: Photographs of the Oxford Volunteer Rifle Corps

In Oxford the earliest surviving photograph albums to feature portraits in any number date from the late 1850s and usually belonged to undergraduates. Alongside clerics, students in caps and gowns, and the boater-clad crews of college “eight-oars”, these albums frequently contain more unusual subjects: men in military uniform, complete with rifles and swords. Read more of this post

Uncle Arthur’s Photography: Arthur Richard Burrows (1882-1947) and the Oxford Camera Club

Arthur Burrows, or “Uncle Arthur” to his listeners, has an important place in broadcasting history as the first person to read the news on the BBC. Less well-known is his interest in photography, which was nurtured in the Oxford Camera Club.

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Acland Images

Images for the news release “Sarah Angelina Acland re-discovered as one of the pioneers of colour photography”.

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Sarah Angelina Acland, Photographer

Press Release:

Sarah Angelina Acland re-discovered as one of the Pioneers of Colour Photography

Oxford, September 2012 – A richly illustrated book from Bodleian Library Publishing on the life, career, and pictures of pioneering photographic artist Sarah Angelina Acland sheds new light on the history of colour photography.
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