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Brewer, Mary, 1796 or 1797–
Photography : memoranda relating to the practise of the art.
Great Britain, ca. 1853-1857.
Physical Description:
1 volume ; 19 cm and 2 photographs
Rare Books and Manuscripts
TR287 .B74 1853
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
Mary Brewer (née Jenkins, 1796 or 1797) is perhaps most recognized as a painter of miniatures, having exhibited works at the Royal Academy from 1848 to 1853 (with an address recorded at 4 John Street, Worcester). The 1851 census records Brewer, age 54 (?), as a widowed head of household, "miniature painter & photographist," in the Worcester parish of St John Bedwardine.
Bound in black leather and marbled boards; rebacked.
Title from title page of the notebook (in manuscript).
Manuscript notebook kept by Mary Brewer, of Worcester, England, on topics concerning the practice of photography. Brewer's notes cover approximately 38 pages, at front and back of the volume (the latter in the opposite orientation). The notes include lists of chemicals and equipment, and sections headed: Cleaning the Plates, Process of Colouring, Expenses for Collodion Process, The Exciting Solution or bath, Collodion Process April 1853, To print the proofs, To fix the proof, Recapitulation, Memoranda, Notes of a conversation with Mr. Eastham 6th June. Also at the back of the volume are two graphite plans of a studio.
Accompanying the notebook are three manuscript letters addressed to Brewer. The author's identity for the longest letter, addressed from "London Hospital, June 18th" is not entirely clear. The autograph at end resembles "T.H. Tustin," though there's a chance it could same be the Eastham (i.e. John Eastham?) referenced in the notebook. The writer makes reference to a Mr. Polyblank, presumably George Henry Polyblank, who in 1854 was a co-founder of the London photographic studio of Maull & Polyblank. The letter includes description of printing processes, especially the use of silver chloride. It recommends Thomas H. Hennah's "Directions for obtaining both positive and negative pictures upon glass, by means of the collodion process ..." first published in 1853. The two remaining letters are from John Williams, of 5 New Cavendish Square, presumably the chemist John Williams (1824-1889) who would later be President of the Pharmaceutical Society (1876-1879). Both are addressed to "Mrs. Brewer, Torquay." In his first letter, 2 May 1853, Williams provides a solution for developing collodion pictures and discusses the benefits of warm temperatures during the development process. In his second letter, 10 June 1853, Williams comments on the success of Brewer's printing and offers his thoughts on how to use the correct amount of ammonium. He then provides instructions for fixing pictures without ammonium, using a bath of hyposophite soda, nitrate silver, chloride gold, and water. Later typescript transcriptions accompany the letters.
Also present are two loose photographs, both presumably by Brewer. One is a salted paper print stereograph portrait (9 x 18 cm) of "R. Stewart, Esqr. M.R.C.S." signed "Mrs. Brewer" on the front (both annotations in graphite). The sitter may be the Robert Stewart M.R.C.S. who authored Handbook of the Torquay flora in 1860. The second photograph (10 x 7 cm) is a salted paper print portrait of a young man; he is also identified on the reverse, in graphite, but the writing is difficult to decipher (C[asgn?] Lar[s?]pent).
Subject Terms:
Brewer, Mary, 1796 or 1797-
Brewer, Mary, 1796 or 1797- -- Correspondence.
Collodion process.
Eastham, John, 1821-1889.
Hennah, Thomas H. Directions for obtaining both positive and negative pictures upon glass, by means of the collodion process.
Photographic chemistry.
Photographs -- Coloring.
Photography -- Processing.
Polyblank, George Henry.
Stewart, Robert, M.R.C.S.
Williams, John, 1824-1889 -- Correspondence.
Salted paper prints.
Graphite drawings.
Williams, John, 1824-1889.

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