|1805 - 1863
Reid was responsible for the very first public showing in Scotland of Talbot’s new art. As organizer of the 1839 Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures, and Practical Science in Edinburgh, Reid accepted Sir Walter Trevelyan’s entry of photogenic drawings sent by Talbot. Reid also attempted photography himself. Pauline Trevelyan recalled in her diary that in one of his 1840 lectures he demonstrated “photogenisizing” to the audience. Reid was the son of a doctor, and his mother was the daughter of an antiquarian. A promising medical doctor himself, he started a popular course of chemical lectures in 1827. He probably would have been more involved in the progress of photography in Scotland had he not moved to London in 1840. In 1836, after the Houses of Parliament burned, Reid was hired as a consultant on the ventilating and acoustics of the replacement buildings. This increasingly took over his time, although his plans eventually proved impractical. In 1856 Reid moved to New York, then Wisconsin, and finally, in 1863, to Washington, D.C., to accept the post of inspector of military hospitals. He died within weeks of arriving in Washington.
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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