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Unused vintage sepia Frith Postcard St. Poor P Incomplete, image seriously affected. Fair F Small tears, obvious creasing or staining. Just about in a collectable state. Good G Noticeable defects, handling and wear Postcard of Church Street, Amberley, Sussex. Postcard of Church Street, Amberley. Serial no ABLY 15, good condition. Cards are all standard small size Reunited with Wenham, the itinerary of this journey included a leg to the Holy Land. Back in England, his reputation continued to grow.
His immense view of Cairo, measuring 8 feet by 20 inches assembled from seven mammoth plates, was shown at the Architectural Photographic Association in By some accounts, Frith's stereo views of the Near East became two of the most popular commercial photographic series of the late s.
During this time, Frith published 'The Art of Photography' in the Art Journal , an essay on aesthetics fighting for the acknowledgment of photography's evolution beyond its operation as a purely mnemonic tool. In July , Frith set off on his third, final and most extensive tour of Egypt, Sinai and Palestine.
Francis Frith & Co, postcard publishers
By the time the photographer returned to England in , he was a photographic celebrity. He spoke regularly to photographic societies and frequently submitted work for exhibition. Frith's Near East journeys generated at least eight titled works and close to images that included the earliest stereo views of the region and a portfolio of the largest prints issued up to that time. The increased demand for Frith's work coincided with the mastering of mass production techniques. He was 38 years old.
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They were to have eight children together. Any analysis of Frith's work inevitably leads to the larger discourse of the tension between empirical knowledge and spiritual awareness that was a persistent preoccupation in Victorian England. As the era was transformed by scientific discoveries, secular scientific thought became linked with a questioning of Christian dogma. But recent studies in the historiography of science demonstrate a more complex and accommodating relationship between Christian faith and science.
Frith's career is emblematic of this accommodation, embracing the idea that 'the truths of Christianity could be determined scientific'. As such, photographs provided proof of the biblical narratives, and beyond that, spiritual and moral influence. It is an intellectual outlook with roots in Romantic Transcendentalism, linking natural truths to the interior spiritual truths of the photograph's viewer. In this way, photography and its ability to seemingly transparently transmit information could be a force against unfaithfulness.
Frith's Quaker piety, in combination with his embrace of photography and his appreciation of its ability to transmit seemingly empirical evidence, led to one biographer defining Frith as a Christian positivist. But even from a purely secular point of view, Frith's photographs become operators within an ideology specific to the era. Frith's thematic choices are manifest of the Victorians' tendency to regard themselves in relation to the larger history of mankind.
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Frith's contemporaries, such as poet Alfred Tennyson and writer and critic John Ruskin, unequivocally pondered how their era, with its rapidly developing technological advances, might compare to earlier cultures. Frith's photographs address that 'comparison'. Aesthetically, Frith's work developed not only in relation to his experience and skill in the field, but in relation to a growing and changing audience.
Frith's first images were produced with a narrow circle of photography colleagues in mind. But with publication in a variety of formats, and an aggressive marketing agenda, his reputation extended to a more diverse audience who desired a different type of image. The early images were apt to feature Europeans posed among Egyptian ruins along with a native guide, prefiguring the snapshot and its declaration: With success and an appreciation of a new audience, Westerners were no longer featured in his views, replaced by native guides or attendants, promoting a vision of the East untarnished by Western influences that allowed for armchair reverie.
With the success Frith found publishing and printing his own work, he took a risk and increased the scale of his operations to include the works of other contemporary photographers. These photographers were hired by Frith to make views of sites in England and abroad as part of what he termed the 'Universal Series'.
At its peak, the company published a page catalogue of stock. These developments changed and expanded the audience for photography and Frith's operation was well-prepared to provide for it and, it can be argued, worked to develop it. Frith's own prints, as well as those which he had commissioned and acquired, became part of an extensive inventory that F.
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The plus images that make up the 'Universal Series' were part of F. The term Universal refers to the size of the print. Around half of the series shows domestic views, including popular British holiday destinations, the rest include images from the continent and further a field, including the Near and Far East. Originally these works, by 'the best artists of the day', were offered by subscription, in lots of 15 photographs over a period of four years for a total of sixty. The first advertisement for these works appeared in the Quaker journal The Friend in Later advertisements offered the works on approval and priced individually rather than by subscription.
A further development in the marketing strategy saw works offered in thematic categories such as: The authorship of the photographs was less important than the subjects depicted. Aimed at the tourist market as well as the 'arm-chair' traveller hungry to experience a foreign culture packaged for domestic consumption, the views were pitched at a market that would later adopt the postcard as the ideal format for its needs. According to correspondence relating to the original acquisition, the prints were housed at F. There are approximately prints missing from the 'run'.
All the prints are whole-plate albumen prints from wet collodion glass negatives and are mounted on brown card measuring approximately 6. The numbering system and the mounts strongly suggest that these prints would have served as place markers or reference prints by the Company for stock prints prepared for sale. Copies of available prints would have been arranged behind the reference print.
When the stock of any particular print became low or was exhausted, the serial number printed on the reference print could be used to locate the corresponding negative. Their use as working reference copies would explain the hand-written captions on the surface of the photographs, providing the name of the view as well as the negative number for easy reference, it also explains that more than a few are double exposed or over exposed - there would be no need to waste a finely printed example on a copy destined for the Frith filing system.
By , with his printing operation well established, Frith devoted himself to service as a Quaker minister, spending more of his time writing religious texts and sermons. By the s, Frith turned over the operation of his business to his sons, and began to draft his autobiography. Nickel, Francis Frith in Egypt and Palestine: Princeton University Press, , Francis Frith in Egypt and Palestine: A Victorian Photographer Abroad. Princeton University Press, Balsells, David, et al. Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Egypt and the Holy Land in Historic Photograph: In association with the Francis Frith Collection.
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Masters of Photography Series. Francis Frith's views of Rural England - David and Charles, Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions , by acknowledging each of the following key points:.
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