Advertisement for F Brookes, artist and photographer
Printer: Fell, Chas.
Medium: Print on paper
Richard Beard opened England's first commercial photographic portrait studio on the roof of the Royal Polytechnic Institution in Regent Street, London in 1841. However it was not until the early 1850s, when his patent on the Daguerreotype process expired and Scott Archer introduced a more sensitive wet collodion process, that other photographers were free to set up commercial studios using any photographic method. Their success depended as much on the photographers' ability to attract sufficient custom as on their skill in operating their equipment.
The number of studios in London rapidly grew along the main commercial and retail streets - particularly the West End, the City and Westminster - and this greatly reduced the cost of portraiture. In this advertisement of 1891, the "artist and photographer", F Brookes announces his special prices for the Cabinet portrait, a large photograph of one sitter or a small group. Also advertised are 'cartes de visite', small visiting cards featuring the caller's photograph on one side with his or her name and address on the other.
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