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HomeContents > People > Photographers > John Nicolas Laverty

Dates:  1818 - ?
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for John Nicolas Laverty
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

A native of Jersey, Laverty became a naval instructor in 1841. He devised a system of determining a ship’s position at sea by a projection on a Mercator chart, an ingenious innovation traditionally ascribed to Capt. Thomas Sumner of the U.S. Navy. None of his photographs are known to have survived, but his photographic reputation would be secured by the influential Thomas Sutton’s reminiscences about him published in 1867. Sutton was deeply impressed by Laverty’s calotypes, which he had seen displayed in a shop window in the Jersey town of St. Helier about 1850. To the normally critical Sutton, Laverty appeared “very intelligent,” and he put down a guinea to take Laverty’s six-lesson course in calotypy. Most of Laverty’s dozen students were successful, none more so than Sutton. (After his course of instruction Sutton considered himself an “established calotypist” who “went in at it with great enthusiasm.”) Laverty survived service in the Crimea, but none of his subsequent photographic activity has been traced. 
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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