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Stonehenge, Photographed By Henry Janes, 1867

Hardy’s description of Tess and Angel Clare arriving at Stonehenge just before dawn provides one of the book's most lyrical passages:

“The band of silver paleness along the east horizon made even distant parts of the Great Plain appear dark and near; and the whole enormous landscape bore that impress of reserve, taciturnity, and hesitation which is usual just before day. The eastward pillars and their architraves stood blackly against the light, and the great flame-shaped Sun-stone beyond them; and the Stone of Sacrifice midway. Presently the night wind died out, and the quivering little pools in the cup-like hollows of the stones lay still.”

This early photograph of the ancient monument was made by Major-General Sir Henry James, who was then Director General of the Ordnance Survey. The survey had been established at the end of the 18th century to produce the famous one-inch-to-the-mile maps.

James was an enthusiast for the new science of photography and was among the first to realise how it could be used to enlarge or reduce maps. The photograph of Stonehenge was processed in the experimental studio he built at Southampton. There his staff invented a technique for transferring photographs to printing plates, for which James claimed most of the credit and christened ‘photozincography’.

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