Among the treasures preserved by Richard Willats in his early album is a calotype view, Goring Church, nr. Reading. This location was so near to Nicolaas Henneman’s pioneering photographic establishment that one wonders if there was a connection. Even more intriguing are two calotypes in the album showing the stained glass at Winchester Cathedral, one, Winchester West Window — from the Interior, inscribed “by Mr. Nicholson, London — an early interior on paper if not the first.” Although there were professional London photographers by the name of Nicholson in later years, none are known this early. He could have been an amateur or, perhaps, someone that Willats knew through his professional contacts. Peter Nicholson (1765-1846) was a well-known optician, author, and teacher. If he is the Nicholson in question, the date of his death would explain why no other work is known by this innovative photographer.
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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