|Dates: ||1800 - 1871|
|Born: ||UK, England, Norwich|
Born in Norwich, where he spent his entire life, Eaton was a successful if unenthusiastic silk merchant. According to a local paper, “In music he was a genius, an accomplished flautist, a composer and a widely-respected critic.” He retired from business in 1846, which allowed him time to pursue his scientific, literary, and artistic interests, as well as his passion for chess. Eaton discovered photography around 1843 and was initially drawn to the daguerreotype but was soon won over to the calotype, perhaps because, with his generous nature, he enjoyed being able to share prints with his friends. Eaton traveled extensively, but all of his photography was done in and around Norwich, and he was at the center of the group of amateur calotypists who formed the Norwich Photographic Society. His friend Hugh Welch Diamond submitted one of Eaton’s calotypes to the 1852 exhibition of the Society of Arts in London. Eaton was the driving force behind the 1856 exhibition of the Norwich Photographic Society, to which he contributed two calotypes and one collodion view, but as photography became more commercialized, he took progressively less interest in the art. Nevertheless, his well-documented albums are a rich trove of photography in its earliest days.
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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