St Thomas's Church, Winchelsea
Photographer: Frith, Francis (1822-1898)
Medium: Photographic print
“I shall not soon forget thy stately relict of St. Thomas, widow-weeded in ivy to the eyes, bidding stand-off – a long way all around – the impertinent little gossiping village;”
Descriptive letterpress by Francis Frith from his book 'The Gossiping Photographer at Hastings'
This view by Francis Frith (1822-1898) of St Thomas’s Church at Winchelsea in East Sussex is one of sixteen photographs of views in Hastings, St Leonards, Rye and Winchelsea 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. The firm was very successful and became the largest of its kind in the 19th century, continuing to be run as a family business until 1971. In Frith’s first album, ‘Egypt and Palestine Photographed and Described’, he also wrote the text that accompanied his photographs and this form of dual authorship is continued in ‘The Gossiping Photographer at Hastings’. Its text is notable for the gently satirical tone which Frith adopts in his travelogue of the 19th-century English seaside resort and its sister towns.