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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Robert Elliott

Dates:  1806 - ?
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Robert Elliott
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

Elliott owned the Pensher Iron Works, a foundry supplied by the plentiful coal mines near Durham, which benefited from the boom in industrialization of the 1840s. Undoubtedly already familiar with industrial and chemical processes, Elliott began his experiments in photography at least by 1852, initially thinking of creating a special tent under which to operate. He failed in his first attempts at employing Gustave Le Gray’s waxed-paper process, largely due to difficulties in development, but like most photographers, Elliott soon modified the process to suit his own working habits. Within a few months he had become sufficiently confident with the process to start offering advice to others, including recommending the use of French glass developing trays in order to avoid contamination, and by 1855 he had succeeded in reducing his exposure times with waxed paper to those of the calotype. By 1857 Elliott was experimenting with a dry collodion on glass process for his outdoor work. He is not known to have exhibited any of his photographs, and apparently none of them have survived. 
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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