Art Gallery of Alberta

19th Century British Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada
June 29, 2013-October 6, 2013

image credits [click to view]

Henry White. The Garden Chair, 11 September 1854. Albumen silver print. 17.8 x 14 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

William Henry Fox Talbot, The Haystack, April 1844. Salted paper print, 19 x 22.9 cm; image: 16.4 x 21 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.

In 1833, the pioneer of British photography, William Henry Fox Talbot, produced his first photogenic drawings. By 1841, Talbot announced his invention of the Calotype to the Royal Society in England. This invention would prove to be one of the most significant photographic developments of the time, as it enabled a person to produce a negative image from which multiple positive images could be made.

Although British photography in the 19th century began as a scientific endeavour, photographers soon trained their lenses on a vast array of subject matter, including leisure activities of the upper class and the documentation of foreign places, especially the ruins of ancient civilizations such as those of Rome and Egypt. Photography was also used a tool of social reform—revealing the conditions of those who lived on the streets.

Pulled from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, this exhibition presents some of the most well recognized images and themes from the period.


The National Gallery of Canada at the Art Gallery of Alberta. Presented with the support of Capital Powered Art, an exhibition series sponsored by Capital Power.