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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Alfred Capel Cure

Dates:  1826 - 1896
Active:  UK
Early English photographer.

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Alfred Capel Cure
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

Cure joined the army at the age of eighteen, rising through the ranks in active service to the level of major in 1855. By the time he bought himself out of the army in 1867 he was a colonel in the Grenadier Guards, and thereafter he generally styled himself Col. Capel Cure. His earliest known photographs, dated 1850, are calotypes preserved in an album titled “Photographic Experiments.” Cure briefly experimented with the collodion process in March 1854, but during his extensive tours of duty with the army he remained faithful to the calotype. Many of his photographs were occasioned by his military assignments. He made panoramic studies of Gibraltar’s harbor and in Ireland photographed not only its antiquities but also fellow officers, while on nonmilitary travels he recorded ecclesiastical architecture and country houses throughout Britain and northern Europe. Some of these tours may have been made in the company of his uncle Robert Henry Cheney. They collaborated so closely and their work is so intermixed in surviving albums that assigning specific authorship is sometimes difficult. While it is clear that the two men learned and practiced photography together, and that Cheney had at least an intellectual interest in photography by 1845, Cure was more likely the instigator and certainly was the more prolific photographer. His preferred method of displaying his work was in albums, and it appears that he never exhibited publicly. His last known photograph is dated 1860, a time when amateur photography in general was in decline. But perhaps Cure simply gave up photography about the same time his aging uncle abandoned the art. Some decades later, Cure accidentally killed himself while dynamiting the roots of trees in his park. 
Roger Taylor & Larry J. Schaaf Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007) 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 4 Nov 2012. 
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