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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Thomas Henry Huxley

Dates:  1825 - 1895
Active:  Australia

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Thomas Henry Huxley
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

“Darwin’s Bulldog,” Huxley is best known for helping to establish and defend the theory of evolution. In 1846 he was a brilliant but disillusioned young surgeon still trying to make his way in the world when he obtained the position of scientific assistant surgeon on HMS Rattlesnake, under the command of Captain Owen Stanley. The main purpose of the expedition was to locate a safe passage through the Great Barrier Reef, in preparation for the screw steamers that would be coming from Sydney. It was during this voyage that Huxley defined his scientific life. He wrote to his sister Eliza on October 6, 1846: “Again, I have learnt the calotype process for the express purpose of managing the calotype apparatus, for which Captain Stanley has applied to the Government.” Although successful in his lessons, it is not known how many, if any, calotypes Huxley was able to make during the expedition. John MacGillivray’s two-volume narrative of the voyage (1852) includes lithographs based on Huxley’s drawings but makes no mention of his photography. 
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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