Not currently on display at the V&A

Daguerreotype

1841 (photographed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Richard Beard (1801-1885) was an English entrepreneur and photographer. He opened Europe’s first public photographic studio at the Royal Polytechnic Institute in Regent Street, London, in March 1841. This daguerreotype is historically significant as it is among the very first commercially produced photographic studio portraits.

The daguerreotype received its first public demonstration in France in August 1839. In July 1841, following negotiations with its inventor Daguerre and his English agent, Miles Berry, Beard purchased the sole patent rights of the daguerreotype process in England and Wales. He licensed others to use the process, requiring them to stamp the daguerreotypes "Beard patentee" as in the example here. In March 1842, he opened a second London studio at 34 Parliament Street, Westminster, and a third at King William Street in April. On 21 March 1842 Prince Albert sat for his portrait in Beard’s studio.

Beard displayed daguerreotypes attributed to him in the Great Exhibition and described himself in the 1851 census return as a ‘photographic artist’. Yet there is scant evidence to suggest he spent much time behind the camera and he seems to have had little, if any, direct hand in the many surviving daguerreotypes that bear his name. It was Beard's entrepreneurial activities promoting the early development in England of the new art of photography for which he is chiefly remembered. The actual name of the ‘Beard patentee’ who made this daguerreotype is not known and the woman in the image is unidentified.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
glass, daguerreotype
Brief Description
Daguerreotype portrait of a woman by Richard Beard, London, 1841
Physical Description
A daguerreotype portrait of an unidentified woman.
Dimensions
  • Height: 70mm (Note: ROUGHLY)
  • Width: 50mm (Note: ROUGHLY)
Marks and Inscriptions
'Beard patentee' stamped on the gilt below image
Credit line
Given by Noel Chanan
Summary
Richard Beard (1801-1885) was an English entrepreneur and photographer. He opened Europe’s first public photographic studio at the Royal Polytechnic Institute in Regent Street, London, in March 1841. This daguerreotype is historically significant as it is among the very first commercially produced photographic studio portraits.



The daguerreotype received its first public demonstration in France in August 1839. In July 1841, following negotiations with its inventor Daguerre and his English agent, Miles Berry, Beard purchased the sole patent rights of the daguerreotype process in England and Wales. He licensed others to use the process, requiring them to stamp the daguerreotypes "Beard patentee" as in the example here. In March 1842, he opened a second London studio at 34 Parliament Street, Westminster, and a third at King William Street in April. On 21 March 1842 Prince Albert sat for his portrait in Beard’s studio.



Beard displayed daguerreotypes attributed to him in the Great Exhibition and described himself in the 1851 census return as a ‘photographic artist’. Yet there is scant evidence to suggest he spent much time behind the camera and he seems to have had little, if any, direct hand in the many surviving daguerreotypes that bear his name. It was Beard's entrepreneurial activities promoting the early development in England of the new art of photography for which he is chiefly remembered. The actual name of the ‘Beard patentee’ who made this daguerreotype is not known and the woman in the image is unidentified.

Collection
Accession Number
E.1154-2012

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record createdJuly 23, 2012
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