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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Henry Holden

Other: H. Holden 
Other: Rev. H. Holden 
Other: Reverend Dr. Holden 
Dates:  1814 - 1909
Active:  Great Britain / Italy

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

Considered the greatest headmaster in the history of the prestigious Catholic School in Durham, the Reverend Dr. Holden was a long-remembered inspiration to his charges. As one former student reminisced in the Dunelmian about his days with Holden nearly a quarter of a century earlier, recollections of Greek lessons and school traditions were almost crowded out by the strong memory of the headmaster’s photographs lining the Long Room, bringing images “vague, shadowy, and mysterious upon us from the prehistoric age.” When Holden was invited to join the Photographic Club in 1857, he worried, with typical reserve, that “I am to be such a very young member.” In fact, he had already shown dozens of photographs in the 1856 exhibitions of the Photographic Society of Scotland, the Norwich Photographic Society, and the Photographic Society in London. All of these had been by collodion, but then a very interesting thing happened. In the summer of 1857, Holden took a six-week vacation in Italy. Tossing off the burden of working with glass plates, he took waxed-paper views in Venice and Milan. Holden must have already been experienced in waxed paper, for these were good enough to be accepted into the 1857 exhibitions of the Birmingham Photographic Society and the Photographic Society in London. It is not known if Holden continued in waxed paper, for all of his subsequent exhibited work through 1862 was done in collodion. 
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.
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