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Rye, From The West

Rye, From The West

Photographer: Frith, Francis (1822-1898)

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1864

Shelfmark: Cup.410.g.108

Item number: 9

Length: 11

Width: 16.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

“Ahead, we have in view the town of Rye, seated upon a gentle hillock, surveying the courses of several streams which meet here, and go lazily rigmaroling towards the retreating ocean, spotted with ships and rafts of timber, maintaining for the old port a sort of India-rubber title to the name. Rattling under the very ribs of four or five clean-looking skeletons, which are growing into ships, you will wind round the town to the old Land-gate, and follow the crest of the hill, past the fine church, till you reach the prison. Everybody who goes to Rye is sent to the jail!"

Descriptive letterpress by Francis Frith from his book 'The Gossiping Photographer at Hastings'

This view by Francis Frith (1822-1898) of Rye in East Sussex is one of sixteen photographs of views in Hastings, St Leonards, Winchelsea and Rye illustrating his book ‘The Gossiping Photographer at Hastings’, published in 1864. Frith was a pioneer in the field of travel photography, beginning his career with three trips to Egypt and the Holy Land between 1856 and 1860. In 1859 he founded his own publishing firm in Reigate, Surrey, which issued albums and postcards of views throughout Britain among a variety of other photographic material. In his first album, ‘Egypt and Palestine Photographed and Described’, Frith also wrote the text that accompanied his photographs. ‘The Gossiping Photographer at Hastings’ continues this dual authorship and its text is notable for the gently satirical attitude which he adopts in his travelogue of the 19th-century English seaside resort and its sister towns.

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