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by BEDFORD, Francis

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Croydon, Surrey, United Kingdom
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About This Item

Oblong Folio [190× 260 mm.]; Title printed in red and black, 16 albumen photographs from collodion negatives [105 × 150 mm.] each mounted on card with a gilt filet border and title printed in brown; original purple cloth, the upper cover with a panel design blocked and lettered in gilt; booksellers ticket 'Croydon. Bookseller, Torquay.'

A fine album of views by one of the greatest photographers of the nineteenth century.

The views include Torquay, from Park Hill; from Waldon Hill, No. 2; Imperial Hotel and Beacon Hill; Atkinson's Hotel and Waldon Hill; from Abbey Crescent; from Torbay Road; Natural Arch at; Avenue, Torre Abbey, No. 1; Hesketh Crescent; Anstis Cove and Beach; Anstis Cove, from the Downs; View from the New Cut, No. 1; Babbiscombe Bay, from the Inn; Babbiscombe Bay, from the Beach; and Cockington Church.

These were some of the first photographs taken by Bedford's on his photographic progress through Britain. The reference numbers range from from 39 to 72 with the view from New Cut numbered 133. From the photograph of the newly built Imperial Hotel can be seen in middle ground a stack of large clay pipes and what looks to be a team of navvies at work. As this Hotel opened its doors on the 1st of November 1866 together with trees still in leaf it would seem to place the date sometime in the late summer or early autumn of 1866.

Francis Bedford (1816–1894) turned to photography about 1853, just at the time when the medium was emerging more fully into the public domain following the introduction of the collodion process. This process offered a delicacy and tonal balance that must have appealed to Bedford's acutely sensitive eye, for throughout his long career as a photographer it remained his preferred medium. He first came to public notice in 1854 when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought examples of his work from the first annual exhibition of the Photographic Society, of which they had recently become patrons. Later in the year they commissioned him to photograph the works of art from the Royal Collection on public exhibition at Marlborough House. As a further mark of her regard the queen commissioned Bedford to travel to Germany incognito in order to photograph scenes associated with her husband's childhood in Coburg. The album she gave the prince as a surprise birthday present in August 1857 was warmly received and as a consequence Bedford was sent to photograph the adjoining principality of Gotha in 1858. When the prince of Wales undertook an educational voyage of the Mediterranean, Egypt, the Holy Land, and Syria in spring 1862, Bedford was chosen to accompany the royal party and document the tour. Despite the many discomforts of heat, dust, and insects Bedford made over 200 negatives. A comprehensive selection was shown in London at the German Gallery, Bond Street, and published as a series of portfolios by Day & Sons, the most expensive of which cost 43 guineas, a price placing it well beyond the reach of all but the most wealthy. Doubtless royal patronage helped to establish Bedford's status among the growing band of artist–photographers who were starting to define the professional future of the medium during this period. Bedford became an active member of the Photographic Society shortly after its formation in 1853; he was elected to its council in 1858 and twice became vice-president, first in 1861 and then again in 1878.

Even before his trip to the Middle East, Bedford was well established as a leading photographer and publisher of topographic and architectural views for the burgeoning middle-class market. Francis Frith, George Washington Wilson, and James Valentine dominated this market in England and Scotland respectively, leaving Bedford to range freely in Wales, which he effectively colonized as his own photographic territory. Initially he specialized in publishing stereoscopic views when they were the height of fashion. In the latter half of the 1860s he published a series of portfolios of Photographic Views of Wales, Devon, and Warwickshire and consolidated the repertoire of his catalogue by travelling widely in his specially built carriage which functioned both as darkroom and living quarters [adapted from DNB]. See Gernsheim, Incunabula, 603 for a different issue.


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Pickering & Chatto, Antiquarian Booksellers GB (GB)
Bookseller's Inventory #
BEDFORD, Francis
Book Condition
Quantity Available
Catherall & Pritchard, Eastgate Row.
Place of Publication
Date Published
c. 1865
0.00 lbs
Bookseller catalogs
Pot Pourri;

Terms of Sale

Pickering & Chatto, Antiquarian Booksellers

30 day return guarantee, with full refund including original shipping costs for up to 30 days after delivery if an item arrives misdescribed or damaged.

About the Seller

Pickering & Chatto, Antiquarian Booksellers

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio member since 2021
Croydon, Surrey

About Pickering & Chatto, Antiquarian Booksellers

Pickering & Chatto has been dealing in rare books for the best part of two centuries. Since 2014 we have been based in the vestry of St. Clement's Church in the City of London, and have a stock of some 2000+ books, principally in the fields of literature, philosophy, social sciences, science and medicine, law and women's studies, from the fifteenth to the first decades of the twentieth century.Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions our offices are at present closed. We are, however, always happy to receive any inquiries by email.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

A new book is a book previously not circulated to a buyer. Although a new book is typically free of any faults or defects, "new"...
A folio usually indicates a large book size of 15" in height or larger when used in the context of a book description. Further,...
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...
Incunabula (incunable or incunabulum) refers to a book printed before 1501 - a pamphlet, a book or document that was not...
A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the...
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in...