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Photograph - Caney the Clown
  • Caney the Clown
    Thomson, John, born 1837 - died 1921
  • Enlarge image

Caney the Clown

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1878 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Thomson, John, born 1837 - died 1921 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carbon print (Woodburytype)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 1001, box A

John Thomson (1837-1921) made this photograph of a clown who also repaired cane furniture for his publication Street Life in London (1878). The people in the pictures were arranged or posed by Thomson to form interesting compositions. However, the results were often naturalistic because the subjects and surroundings were always authentic. Thomson used the 'Woodburytype' process patented in 1864 for the images in the book, including this photograph. This was a type of photomechanical reproduction using pigmented gelatin, usually of a rich purple-brown colour. The process was complicated but remained popular until about 1900 because of the high quality and permanence of the finished images.

Physical description

Photograph of a seated man with an umbrella, mending the cane seat of a chair

Place of Origin

London (made)


1878 (made)


Thomson, John, born 1837 - died 1921 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carbon print (Woodburytype)


Height: 11.8 cm, Width: 9.6 cm

Descriptive line

19thC; Thomson John,Caney the clown,Street Life in London



Subjects depicted



Photographs; Scotland


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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