Photography: A Victorian Sensation
19 June – 22 November 2015
The show charts the photographic craze that swept the globe in the 19th century.
Photography emerged in the 1830s thanks to the trailblazing efforts of two key figures: Henry Fox Talbot and Louis Daguerre. The pair were actually competitors; working individually on opposite sides of the channel, they each developed their own photographic methods.
When the French Academy of Sciences announced Daguerre's invention Talbot promptly wrote an open letter to the society claiming priority. In retaliation Daguerre's agent applied for a British patent just days before making the process available to rest of the world for free. This meant Great Britain was the only country where people had to pay licence fees in order to make daguerreotypes. Far from being discouraged, British practitioners came up with new and unique ways of making photographs.
On display are some of the world’s first examples of photographic prints, including several that were included in the 1851 Great Exhibition. Delving into the stories behind the pictures, the exhibition reveals the Victorian obsession with photography very much mirrors our own modern-day desire to record and document the world around us.