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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Bessie Raynor Parkes

Dates:  1829 - 1925
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Bessie Raynor Parkes
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

Parkes’s mother was an American-born descendant of Joseph Priestley, the controversial Quaker scientist involved in the prehistory of photography. Her father was a radical lawyer in Birmingham, and the family had many connections in scientific and artistic circles. In 1847 she taught herself the photogenic drawing process and used it to photograph New Zealand ferns she had received from her uncle, the illustrator Edwin Swainson. For a period in 1847, photography was her consuming passion. In 1858 she purchased the Englishwoman’s Journal, a feminist publication that promoted the stories of professional women. In 1867 she married Louis Belloc and moved to France. Parkes’s photograms made as a teenager are her only known photographs. 
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. 
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
If you find any errors please email us details so they can be corrected as soon as possible.

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