Huline Brothers, c 1890 Theatre Collections

Huline Brothers, c.1890
Theatre Collections

Victoria & Albert Museum, Hippesley Cox Archive

Photography was invented in the 1830s and initially was practised by wealthy amateurs and inventors, but soon became a lucrative profession as popular demand for images grew. By the mid-nineteenth century the camera was used as a tool for scientific observation, to capture rural landscapes, to document different social ‘types’ and to create studio portraits – which quickly became a commercially viable way of recording family life. As the century progressed, women photographers were among the most skilled professionals in the UK.

Photographers chronicled the great technological achievements of the period and documented poverty as well as street life in increasingly populated cities. By the 1860s the production of cartes-de-visite and cabinet photographs allowed the public to collect images of celebrities and royalty as well as their own family members.

Though this medium was burdened with technical constraints, its inventiveness was remarkable. Photography became a window to the world and through this wealth of images, one can glimpse something of who we were and find clues to who we are.

Artists and Archives

Thomas Annan
Anna Atkins
Thomas John Barnes
Alexander Bassano
Geoffrey Bevington
Julia Margaret Cameron
Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
Chamberlaine, Marylebone, London
John Cooper, Wigan
Robert Thompson Crawshay
Philip Henry Delamotte
Hugh Diamond
W. & D. Downey
Draycott Photo
Engler, Dresden
Peter Henry Emerson
Roger Fenton
Fink, Oxford St, London
Francis Frith
William Henry Fox Talbot
Kate Gough
Gunn & Stuart
David Octavius Hill & Robert Adamson
H. Howle, Newport, Salop
Robert Howlett
Sir Henry James
Karoly, Birmingham
Richard Kasbaum, Berlin
William Edward Kilburn
Lafayette
L. Langois
Robert and Mrs Little, Wigan
Richard Cockle Lucas
M. Lyon, Nancy
Paul Martin
John Jabez Edwin Mayall
McLean and Haes, Haymarket, London
Louisa Millard, Wigan
Arthur J. Munby
WW Stephens, Newport
James Stodard, Margate
Stuart, Richmond
Frank Meadow Sutcliffe
John Thomas
John Thomson
Benjamin Brecknell Turner
W. Usherwood
Walter D. Welford