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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Henry Craigie Brewster

Dates:  1816 - 1905
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Henry Craigie Brewster
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

The fourth and youngest son of Sir David Brewster, Henry Craigie Brewster served as a captain in the 76th Regiment, Royal Scots. He shared his fatherís scientific interests and was given an honorary corresponding membership in the St. Andrews Literary and Philosophical Society. In 1842 Sir David canceled a meeting with Talbot when the opportunity arose to spend time with his son, who was on leave from military service. In her biography of Sir David, her father, Margaret Gordon recalled his passion for calotypy, writing that his ďyoungest son, when at home on leave, practised it under his superintendence, and it was one of his fatherís means of relaxation from heavier work, to take positives from the negatives of his son and others.Ē In October 1842 Sir David wrote to Talbot that his sonís calotyping was going well and that he had purchased a camera from the Edinburgh optician Thomas Davidson in order to photograph his regiment when they were assigned to Cork. Captain Brewster left very few clues about his work, but we know from Sir Davidís letter that his son oiled his calotype negatives to make them print faster. The largest surviving group of his photographs, depicting his fellow soldiers and the architecture of Cork, was taken before the regiment transferred out in May 1843. These may have been his last photographs, for Brewster was then posted to Plymouth, and therefore faced some uncertainty over Talbotís calotype patent. While on subsequent postings to Corfu and Cephalonia, he sent home pen-and-ink sketches. Brewster rose to the rank of major-general. In his obituary he was remembered as an enthusiastic golfer with a wide circle of friends. 
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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