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Campbell, William George, 1810–1881

William George Campbell photograph album.

Great Britain, circa 1853-circa 1879.
Physical Description:
1 album (51 photographs) : salted paper prints, albumen prints ; 33 x 27 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio A 2019 4
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
The 52 photographs include 35 views and architectural subjects, 3 smaller architectural subjects, and 14 portraits. Campbell and his wife, Frances Maria (d. 1868), the eldest daughter of Thomas Arthur Stone, a Curzon Street surgeon, appear in several of the portraits in this collection. He was a member of the Photographic Exchange Club and contributed to the Photographic Exchange Club albums in 1855, 1857, and 1858. Based on this evidence, the photographs in this collection are likely Campbell's work or that of others in his close family circle. All of the photographs are loose, not affixed to pages of the album, but they appear to have been tucked inside the present volume since as early as the 19th century. From the evidence of the prints themselves, Campbell employed the calotype or waxed paper negative for his large landscape and architectural views -- lighter and easier to handle than the newly introduced collodion negatives -- and glass negatives for portraits of family and friends. Campbell himself appears in two of the portraits, in one of which he stands proudly in front of a fireplace, above which are hung many photographs, including at least one in this group.
Campbell, a lawyer, was the youngest member of the Lunacy Commission from 1845, where he served as a paid commissioner until 1878, alongside Robert Wilfred Skeffington Lutwidge (served 1855-1873). It may have been Lutwidge, a fellow barrister and the nephew of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) who introduced Campbell to photography at this early date. Both Lutwidge and Campbell were members of the Photographic Exchange Club. Campbell contributed two views to the PEC's 1855 album: Part of the Old Walls, Southampton, a salted paper print made from a calotype negative dated 1854; and On the Mole, at Burford Bridge, an albumen print also made from a calotype negative. The following year he contributed two albumen prints made from calotype negatives to the club's album: Sandwich, Kent and Windsor Locks. See: Taylor, R. Impressed by Light : British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (2007), p. 298 and fig. 22.
Campbell's role as a commissioner (one of six) was "to grant licences, visit and regulate asylums, report to the Lord Chancellor as to the condition of the same, and conduct and manage everything connected with certified lunatics in England and Wales." Judging by the varied locations of these images, he must often have traveled with his camera. His Times obituary (14 June 1881) added that in 1855 he was requested to act on the Royal Commission into the State of Lunatic Asylums in Scotland, "and devoted much time and labour to the subject." The result was the establishment of the Board of Lunacy in Scotland.
Subject Terms:
Boston (England)
Campbell, Frances Maria, -1868.
Campbell, William George, 1810-1881.
Canterbury Cathedral.
Chepstow Castle (Chepstow, Wales)
Church buildings.
Ely Cathedral.
Great Britain. Criminal Lunacy (Departmental) Commission.
Hussey, Mary Frances.
Lisieux (France)
Magdalen College (University of Oxford)
Paris (France)
Photographers -- Great Britain.
Photographic Exchange Club (Great Britain)
Sheering (England)
Stone, Edith, 1844-
Stone, Thomas Arthur, 1797-1864.
Stone, William, 1834-
Wells (England)
Wells Cathedral.
Photograph albums.
Salted paper prints.
Albumen prints.
Travel photography.
Architectural views.
Topographical views.

  • Views and architectural studies mostly from 10 x 8 inch paper negatives trimmed to slightly smaller sizes: 1. [The Seine, Paris]
  • 2. [Old bridge over river in winter]
  • 3. High St. Oxford (titled in pencil on verso)
  • 4. [Churchyard with gravestones]
  • 5. ? W. G. Campbell (titled in ink on verso) [Two men seated on fallen tree trunk in woodland]
  • 6. Lisieux (titled in negative)
  • 7. In the Gardens of Palace at Wells (titled in pencil on verso)
  • 8. Lisieux 1853 (titled and dated in the negative)
  • 9. [Paris, the Louvre and metal bridge, later Pont des Arts]
  • 10. [? French cathedral windows with stone slabs and pavement trader in foreground]
  • 11. Boston [Lincs.] (titled in pencil on recto)
  • 12 Magdalen Coll. Oxford (titled in pencil on verso)
  • 13. Magdalen Coll. Oxford (titled in pencil on recto and verso)
  • 14. Magd. Coll. Oxford (titled in ink on verso)
  • 15. [Village street with pub]
  • 16. [Trees in winter]
  • 17. Sheering Rectory, Essex with family group in garden]
  • 18. Wells (titled in pencil on recto)
  • 19. Station Tauntan (sic) (titled in the negative)
  • 20. Avenue of Limes, Witham ... (titled in pencil on verso)
  • 21. Norwich (titled in pencil on recto)
  • 22. Brighton 1854 (titled and dated in the negative)
  • 23. Wells [door detail] (titled in ink on verso)
  • 24. Chapel of Holy Spirit at Basingstoke (titled in pencil on verso, laid paper)
  • 25. Gate of B[isho]p's Palace Wells (titled in pencil on recto)
  • 26. Wells (titled in pencil on recto)
  • 27. Ely (titled in pencil on recto)
  • 28. [L. Hurst Minerva Hotel and pier]
  • 29. Eton (titled in pencil on recto) 30. [River scene]
  • 31. [The Baptistery, Canterbury]
  • 32. [Canterbury Cathedral]
  • 33. Chepstow Castle (titled in pencil on verso)
  • 34. Chepstow Bridge (titled in pencil on verso)
  • 35. Norwich (mounted on paper, titled in pencil on recto).
  • Architecture and interiors from half-plate glass negatives: 36. Sheering Rectory, Essex (mounted on card and titled in pencil on verso)
  • 37. Sandhurst Ch[urch]. Kent 1879 (titled and dated in ink on verso)
  • 38. [Dining room interior with framed photographs and albums on table]
  • Portraits mostly from quarter-plate or half-plate glass negatives: 39. F.M. Campbell from a watercolour drawing (titled in pencil on verso)
  • 40. Mrs. Arthur (Mary) Stone (titled in ink on verso)
  • 41. Wm. Stone
  • 42. Edith Stone (titled in ink on verso)
  • 43. Edith Stone (salt print, titled in ink on verso)
  • 44. T.A. Stone (mounted on card, titled in ink on verso)
  • 45. M.F.H. Mary Frances Hussey (titled in ink on verso)
  • 46. W.G. Campbell [head and shoulders portrait wearing plaid and Scottish cap (titled in ink on verso)
  • 47. W.G. Campbell [posed in front of a wall of framed photographs] (titled in ink on verso)
  • 48. F.M. Campbell (titled in ink on verso)
  • 49. F.M. Campbell [posed at a widow holding a carte-de-visite album beside a table with table-top stereo viewer (titled in ink on verso)
  • 50. F.M. Campbell [tempting a small dog on a chair*] (titled in ink on verso) [This was published in The Photographic Album for the Year 1857, titled "The Lesson." A copy in the GEH Museum is dated May 1856]
  • 51. [Composite of multiple portraits in one photomontage, framed and re-photographed. This photograph appears on the wall of W.G. Campbell self-portrait.]

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