The last few weeks have been spent working on negatives (so there have been few updates to the site). First, in an attempt to identify the sitter in a recently purchased cabinet photograph, taken by JE Bliss at Post Office Terrace Studio, I have been trying to understand the cataloguing of the fabulous collection of negatives from this Cambridge studio deposited in the Cambridgeshire Collection by Peter Lofts. It turns out that finding the negative of my print was a 300,000:1 shot – which actually worked! With much help from Mary Burgess a finding aid has now been written for this material – now available in the Cambridgeshire Collection and available on this site shortly.
Second a collection of around 5000 negatives and some prints by Cambridge photographer Thomas Howell are being catalogued ready to be deposited in the Cambridgeshire Collection. Below is an example print from the early 1940s showing a Rolls Royce car parked on Cambridge Market Place. The most interesting aspect of this photograph is that it catches construction of the Cambridge Guildhall, which had been re-designed in 1939.
Delighted to meet Peter Lofts and his wife this week. Peter was the final owner and photographer operating at Post Office Terrace Cambridge, one of the oldest and longest continually occupied studios in England. Peter has saved negatives from all the occupants of this historic studio and they are all on loan at the Cambridgeshire Collection. Peter is writing a book on the studio.
Also this week some examples of the work of Cambridgeshire photographers have been bought from Greece and Denmark and posted on the site.
Tried out today the new computer-controlled film reader at the Cambridgeshire Collection – an improvement on the older versions of readers, but it is still a little awkward to scan the huge pages of old newspapers – fit the page on the screen and it’s too tiny to read, fit less than a page on the screen and you are constantly moving round to find the edges. Spent the morning looking through the Cambridge Independent Press for 1844 and 1845 looking for a report of the moonlight flit of the first Cambridge Daguerreotype photographer – sadly there was no such report. But – one interesting find was an advertisement for the sale of a library and other items by the executors from the estate of the late Rev T E Rogers of Lackford Suffolk on 26th and 27th Nov 1844 which included a “complete Daguerreotype apparatus made by one of the first opticians in Paris”. I wonder who bought this and whether the purchase led to a successful career as a photographer.
This week I have been re-working the entries on http://www.fadingimages.uk on Valentine Blanchard. It was pointed out to me that the information on the site was at variance with Mike Petty’s articles on the Post Office Terrace Studio, in that I had shown but one Valentine, while Mike wrote about an uncle and nephew duo of the same name. I’d found quite a lot of information about Valentine and had thought that it could all relate to one person – a conclusion also reached by the photoLondon web site. I should have known better – Mike was right and I’ve now located Valentine Blanchard Jnr (Valentine Louis Blanchard) – and what an interesting character he turns out to be. The new information is still being written up and entries on the site should be updated in the next few days.
While going through the Photographic Journal for 1916 today I came across the above sketch of a Sanderson Camera – designed by Cambridge photographer FH Sanderson.