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Photograph - Scientist in his Laboratory
  • Scientist in his Laboratory
    John Benjamin Dancer, born 1812 - died 1887
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Scientist in his Laboratory

  • Object:


  • Date:

    1851 (Photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    John Benjamin Dancer, born 1812 - died 1887 (Photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Daguerreotype stereograph

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased 1979

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Photographs, room 100, case WS

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John Benjamin Dancer made scientific and optical instruments professionally, and was also an inventor with a strong interest in photography. Experimenting with photographic media, he wrote that 'the accounts given of the beautiful pictures [daguerreotypes] induced me to abandon the photographic paper process'. This hand-painted daguerreotype was made for friends, probably to showcase his achievements. The sitter, posing as a scientist, is shown making a pair of daguerreotypes. He is surrounded by some of Dancer's inventions and other scientific instruments.

Physical description

Daguerreotype of a man sitting in a laboratory making a pair of daguerreotyps.


1851 (Photographed)


John Benjamin Dancer, born 1812 - died 1887 (Photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Daguerreotype stereograph

Descriptive line

'Scientist in his Laboratory, 1851, daguerreotype stereograph by John Benjamin Dancer (born London 1812, died Manchester 1887)

Labels and date

Gallery 100 ‘A History of Photography’, 2014-2015, label text:

John Benjamin Dancer (1812–87)
Scientist in his Laboratory

John Benjamin Dancer was an inventor with an interest in photography. In this staged scene, the man is surrounded by technical instruments, including some of Dancer’s own inventions. Among the objects on the table is a stereoscopic viewer of the type used to see this daguerreotype in three dimensions. The figure is shown as part scientist and part alchemist, much as photographers were viewed at the time.

Hand tinted daguerreotype stereograph
Museum no. Ph.243-1979
[06 03 2014]


Science; Photographs

Collection code


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