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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Levett Landen Boscawen Ibbetson

Dates:  1799 - 1869
Born:  England, Peterborough
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Levett Landen Boscawen Ibbetson
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

Among the hundreds of contributions to the 1852 exhibition of the Society of Arts, only two albums were shown. One was made up by Talbot, according to the handwritten label he affixed to its cover, to memorialize “an early period of the art.” The other, “Le Premier Livre imprimé par le soleil,” was a book handmade by Ibbetson in 1839, with not only photogenic drawing illustrations but also a photographically printed title page and preface. Further tying together the new art of photography with the traditional world of the book, Ibbetson published a pioneering engraving on a daguerreotype plate in the Westminster Review in 1840. Working at the Royal Polytechnic Institution, he used oxyhydrogen light to project a photographic image. Ibbetson also showed a new process of photolithography to James D. Forbes and Sir John Herschel. In 1842 he corresponded with Talbot, thanking him for the iodized paper he had sent and discussing his own experiments with the calotype. Robert J. Longbottom reported that Ibbetson was “going on with the experiments daily.” None of Ibbetson’s photographic work is known to have survived, nor, seemingly, have any details of his early life. It is known that he was born in Peterborough and that in 1849 the queen gave him permission to wear the insignia of the Royal Prussian Order of the Red Eagle. Within months, Ibbetson was part of the deputation from the Society of Arts charged by Prince Albert with laying the foundations for the Great Exhibition of 1851 (Ibbetson wrote the official report on the exhibition’s toilets, a new public innovation and a matter of no small interest). His gift of his collection of fossils was an important contribution to the Museum of Practical Geology, but Ibbetson lived in Prussia in his later years, and after his death, his effects were dispersed. 
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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