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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Richard Colls

Dates:  1802 - 1880
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Richard Colls
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

Colls was a calotypist only briefly, if at all, and his photographs are unknown today, but there is no doubt that it was the Talbotype that got him into difficulty. A London artist and picture dealer, Colls displayed with his brother lebbeus colls “several sun-pictures on paper” in the Great Exhibition of 1851. The judges were not overly impressed; in the Reports by the Juries, the pictures were described as “rather blotty in appearance, but . . . good in colour.” In 1848 Colls applied to Talbot for a calotype license to be shared with his brother and Robert Bingham. The price was deemed too high, but Colls and Bingham proceeded without a license nevertheless. Eventually, in January 1852, Talbot secured an injunction against Colls and his Gallery of Modern Art, prohibiting them from producing or selling photographs on paper. Although Bingham was a pioneer in glass-negative photography, it is likely that at this early date Colls and Bingham were still employing the calotype. The Colls injunction would be the legal basis for the later, better-known action against Sylvester Laroche. 
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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