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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Frederick William Flower

Other: Frederick Flower 
Dates:  1815 - 1889
Born:  Scotland
Active:  Portugal
Scottish merchant resident at Oporto in Portugal where he took calotypes in the 1850s.

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Approved biography for Frederick William Flower
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

Through an accident of timing, Flower was born in Scotland. His father, the sheriff of Hull, was transporting French prisoners to Edinburgh and had taken his pregnant wife along with him. The thriving trade in port wine at Leith must have influenced Flower, for at the age of nineteen he moved to Oporto, Portugal, to become a shipping clerk for a wine merchant. The calotype was then virtually unknown in Portugal, but somehow Flower became a master of the process, perhaps based on information that he received from Edinburgh. The majority of his negatives were made on paper watermarked “Whatman’s Turkey Mill 1849,” and also on R. Turner Patent Talbotype Paper, which was available from 1854. In 1853 Flower entered into his own wine business, and his temporary relocation to Bristol in 1859 seems to have put an end to his photographic pursuits. Although he did not exhibit and very few of his prints survive, a substantial archive of Flower’s calotype negatives has been preserved. 
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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Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Frederick William Flower.] 
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