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Photography: A Victorian Sensation

This exhibition showcased the pioneers of photography, and how the Victorian craze for the photograph transformed the way we capture images.

The Victorian craze for the photograph transformed the way we capture images and mirrors our own modern-day fascination for recording the world around us.
Exhibition information

When

19 June - 22 November 2015

Where

National Museum of Scotland

This exhibition provided an opportunity to meet the pioneers of photography. Visitors could follow the cross-channel competition between photographic trailblazers Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot, enter the world of the 1851 Great Exhibition and see some of the world’s first stereophotographs. Then get swept up in the collecting craze of the carte-de-visite and discover the fascinating stories of the people behind the pictures, including Hill and Adamson’s beautiful images of Victorian Edinburgh.

  • Unknown little girl sitting on a striped cushion holding a framed portrait of a man, possibly her dead father, by Ross & Thomson of Edinburgh,1847-60, ninth-plate daguerreotype.

    Unknown little girl sitting on a striped cushion holding a framed portrait of a man, possibly her dead father, by Ross & Thomson of Edinburgh,1847-60, ninth-plate daguerreotype.

  • Carte-de-visite of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, photographed by Robert Howlett. From the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

    Carte-de-visite of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, photographed by Robert Howlett. From the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

  • Carte-de-visite of the Pritchard family. Dr Edward Pritchard would later be convicted of poisoning his wife and mother-in-law. Part of the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

    Carte-de-visite of the Pritchard family. Dr Edward Pritchard would later be convicted of poisoning his wife and mother-in-law. Part of the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

  • Carte-de-visite of Dr E.W. Pritchard, who was convicted of poisoning his wife and mother-in-law. He was the last person to be publicly executed in Glasgow.

    Carte-de-visite of Dr E.W. Pritchard, who was convicted of poisoning his wife and mother-in-law. He was the last person to be publicly executed in Glasgow.

  • This stereocard made by the London Stereoscopic Company, shows a display put on by the Northern Lighthouse Board at the 1862 International Exhibition, held in London. Part of the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

    This stereocard made by the London Stereoscopic Company, shows a display put on by the Northern Lighthouse Board at the 1862 International Exhibition, held in London. Part of the Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland.

  • Photograph burnt in on glass, a group of workmen, Paris 1858.

    Photograph burnt in on glass, a group of workmen, Paris 1858.

  • Early calotype camera with lens, c. 1840, part of equipment used by Fox Talbot, the inventor of the photographic negative/positive process.

    Early calotype camera with lens, c. 1840, part of equipment used by Fox Talbot, the inventor of the photographic negative/positive process.

  • Plate XIV, 'The Ladder', mounted image, from Part 3 of 'The Pencil of Nature' by William Henry Fox Talbot, published May 1845

    Plate XIV, 'The Ladder', mounted image, from Part 3 of 'The Pencil of Nature' by William Henry Fox Talbot, published May 1845

  • Calotype photographs from an album compiled by Dr John Adamson, among the earliest in Scotland.

    Calotype photographs from an album compiled by Dr John Adamson, among the earliest in Scotland.

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