Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Photograph - Detail of the prow of a ship
  • Detail of the prow of a ship
    Jones, Calvert Richard Rev., born 1802 - died 1877
  • Enlarge image

Detail of the prow of a ship

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Bristol (photographed)

  • Date:

    1845 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Jones, Calvert Richard Rev., born 1802 - died 1877 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    salted paper print from calotype negative

  • Museum number:

    PH.36-1983

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 353

This photographic study of the prow of a sailing ship is a very early example of the calotype process, the process for making paper negatives invented by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1839. The photographer, Calvert Jones was introduced to the process by a cousin of Talbot and by close friends who lived near to Jones in South Wales.

Jones' work stands out in the early development of photography because of his ability to fuse his new skill in photography with his experience as marine watercolorist. His many marine photographs were made at a time of a major transition in shipping from sail to steam. The purple-brown colour of this study demonstrates the variety of texture, tone and detail that could be printed from a paper negative .

Physical description

The image is dominated by the prow of a sailing ship with carved floral detail to the wood and ropes, rigging and chain on deck. The brick quayside and part of a stone building are visible on the left, above and below the point of the prow. A clear deep purple-brown print with a little fading mainly in narrow bands to the top and left of the image.

Place of Origin

Bristol (photographed)

Date

1845 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Jones, Calvert Richard Rev., born 1802 - died 1877 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

salted paper print from calotype negative

Dimensions

Height: 17.8 cm image, Width: 20.1 cm

Object history note

During the 1830s William Henry Fox Talbot invented a way of making paper negatives and from them multiple paper prints. In doing so, he laid the foundations of modern photography. Calvert Jones learned of these developments in 1839 through a neighbour who was a cousin of Talbot. Jones lived in South Wales and he made many photographs there and in the West of England. He also travelled widely, making photographs on the continent. Jones' work stands out in the early development of photography because he was one of the first to apply a schooled artist's eye to the medium.

His many marine studies were made at a time of a major transition in shipping from sail to steam. This study of the prow of a ship incorporates a variety of texture, depths of tone and detail. Jones made a series of photographs in Bristol, many of them in and around the harbour. PH.50-1983 includes the same stone building on the quay side within the wider context of the harbour.

Historical context note

By the 1840s Bristol's importance as a port had reached its zenith. As the volume of traffic increased and the size of the ships grew, modern steamers, such as the S.S. Great Britain, transferred to Liverpool or Glasgow. At Bristol, not only had ships entering the River Avon from the Bristol Channel to navigate through 7 miles of river with fast currents and an exceptionally high tidal range, but Bristol had failed to modernise port facilities. Although a floating harbour (seen in many of Jones' photographs) was developed, it was too late, it was expensive to maintain and harbour dues were twice those charged at Liverpool.

Descriptive line

Detail of the prow of a ship

Materials

Salted paper

Techniques

Calotype

Subjects depicted

Chain; Anchor; Warehouse; Ship; Ropes; Quay; Carving

Categories

Photographs

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.