Creative Calotypes – Victorian Visionaries
As part of our celebration of the YPS bicentennial in 2022, we have formed a new group working with York Museums Trust (YMT) and York Explore (YE – formerly York Central Library) to run a project in Museum Gardens, York in the autumn of 2019. The core project will involve displaying a selection of photographs taken at a conference which took place in York 175 years ago, when photography was in its infancy.
The Calotype Trail
These very early photographs were called calotypes. They were taken by the important Scottish photographers D O Hill and R Adamson, and we will display large weather-proof copies of some of them in interesting places in and around Museum Gardens, forming a trail which can be followed. We will include some nationally important scientists, a number of characters who were important to York and the YPS, and some colourful characters – an ex whaling captain, and a mounted coastguard – think Cornish smugglers…
Events for Adults
In addition to hosting the display in the gardens, YMT will put on a display (which you can see for free!) in the foyer of the Yorkshire Museum, and is arranging some curators’ talks. YPS has arranged some further activities, including a lecture by Anne Lyden, the Chief Curator of Photography at the National Galleries of Scotland, where these wonderful photos are kept, and a Cafe Sci presentation by Dr Colleen Morgan, from the University of York. Our partners at York Explore will be devoting some of their popular ‘Mint Yard Lectures’ to this theme, and will also put on a workshop ‘Caring for your old Photographs’
Events for Children
We hope that children will enjoy following the trail in the gardens, and we hope to base a quiz on this. Additionally, York Explore have an ‘interactive digital table’, which we will use to show photographs of modern scientists at work. This will be a fun way to demonstrate how much has changed in the last 175 years, and how science might now provide an exciting career for people of all types. YE will also put on a ‘Fun Palaces’ workshop related to the calotypes.
To learn more about the photographers and their subjects
Clicking on the first item in the ‘red list’ on the left of the page, ‘1844 – How it all Happened’, will take you to a page of information about the photographers D O Hill and R Adamson, and how these photographs came to be taken. Clicking on the remaining items in the list will give you short biographical items on the sitters.
To learn more about calotypes, and the science and history of photography
Click on the final item in the ‘red list’
If you would like to support this project
If you might be interested in helping with this project, and would like to join the group, please contact me (Margaret Leonard) via the Lodge. And, of course, we will need to do some fundraising, so if you, or someone you know, might like to make a contribution, do let us know…
Margaret Leonard 20/4/2019
Portraits in the banner above are all calotypes taken by David Octavius Hill (1802-1870) & Robert Adamson (1821-1848) and licensed from the National Galleries of Scotland. From L to R :-
Title:-‘Called Sir John Frederick William Herschel, 1792 – 1871. Astronomer’ https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/67785/called-sir-john-frederick-william-herschel-1792-1871-astronomer
Title:-‘Rev. Dr William Scoresby, 1789 – 1857. Whaler, Scientist and Arctic explorer [b]’
Title:- ‘Charles William Peach, 1800 – 1886. Coastguard; naturalist and geologist’
Title:-‘Sir Henry Thomas De La Beche, 1796 – 1855’
The images behind the banner portraits are:-
The New Museum with Part of the Ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, York, N. Whittock, 1829. YPS & St. Mary’s Abbey Gateway, Thomas Rowlandson, 1801. Image YMT