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Like many early photographers, P. H. Delamotte and Joseph Cundall were artists trained in areas other than photography. Cundall was a painting student, and Delamotte was the son and student of a painter and drawing master. By the early 1840s, however, both turned their attention to photography. Cundall helped organize the Calotype Society in 1847 and began publishing books illustrated with photography. Delamotte exhibited works in the first photographic exhibition in 1852, and he went on to become a licensed calotype printer and portrait maker.

Delamotte and Cundall formed a working relationship in 1853 when Delamotte began advertising his services through the Photographic Institute, which had been opened by Cundall. The two artists organized the first commercial photographic auction in 1853, and Cundall published several of Delamotte's photographs in albums. Finally, they formed a joint venture with Photographic Views of the Progress of the Crystal Palace Sydenham (1852-55) and in 1856, A Photographic Tour among the Abbeys of Yorkshire.

By the 1860s Delamotte had returned to painting and drawing and eventually became a professor of drawing. Cundall was influential in early British photography because of his publishing efforts, which he continued.

Fountain Abbey is from an album, most likely A Photographic Tour among the Abbeys of Yorkshire. The dapper man posing gives a human element to an otherwise sterile architectural detail. It is not a formal portrait, for that would have more carefully identified the man.

Details

  • Title: Fountains Abbey
  • Creator: Joseph Cundall
  • Date Created: 1856
  • Physical Dimensions: w23.3 x h28.3 cm (image)
  • Type: Photograph
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Albumen print
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Sonia and Kaye Marvins Portrait Collection, museum purchase funded by Sonia and Kaye Marvins

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