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Advertisement for William Bailey, photographer

Advertisement for William Bailey, photographer

Printer: Straker, W.

Medium: Print on paper

Date: 1889

Shelfmark: Evan.6475

Item number: 6475

Genre: Leaflet

By the early 1850s, Richard Beard's patent on the Daguerreotype process of photography had expired, and Scott Archer had introduced a more sensitive wet collodion process. Photographers were now free to set up commercial practices using either method. Success in their ventures depended as much on the photographers' ability to attract sufficient demand as on their photographic skills.

In London, studios sprang up along the main commercial and retail streets, particularly in the West End, the City and Westminster. Competition greatly reduced the cost of portraiture. In this advertisement of 1889 William Bailey announces his special price for the Cabinet portrait, a large photograph of a single sitter, or a small group, intended for display. He also advertises Cartes de Visites - small calling cards featuring a photograph on one side and the name and address of the sitter on the reverse. Cartes de Visite were avidly collected and arranged in albums at the end of the century.

Daguerreotype was one of the earliest photographic processes. An impression was taken on a silver plate sensitized by iodine, then developed by exposure to vapours of mercury - a potentially harmful process which resulted in a single image.

The collodion process was introduced in 1851. Collodion, a viscuous liquid, dried to form a very thin clear film over the image produced. The process could be used on glass sheets to provide a negative image, from which many positive images could be printed. Collodion was never patented

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