|Dates: ||1828 - 1892|
Cecilia Belville was the daughter of an assistant at the Royal Observatory. Little is known of her early life except that she started drawing lessons at the age of thirteen. In 1843, at the age of fifteen, she married James Glaisher, the superintendent at the observatory, who would become one of the best-known people in the photographic circles of the day, heading various societies and participating in research. Cecelia, who made illustrations of snow crystals that her husband employed in his publications, was probably drawn into photography through her husband’s interests and may also have been influenced by various photographers that she would have met at Hartwell House, the home of Dr. John Lee, astronomer, mathematician, and philanthropist. In 1855, at the exhibition held in conjunction with the British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Glasgow, Glaisher displayed her large photogenic drawings of ferns. Meticulously done, they so impressed the natural history publisher Edward Newman that he hoped to enter them into the highly competitive botanical print market. But Glaisher’s health was broken in childbirth not long after this, and nothing is known of any subsequent photographic work on her part.
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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