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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Thomas Davies

Dates:  1832 - 1880
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

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

An author and glass manufacturer in Warrington, Davies was also an enthusiastic contributor to the photographic exhibitions. According to the Warrington Gazette, he died prematurely, but “had it not been for his delicate health, it is possible that he might have taken rank amongst the scientific men of the century, for he was possessed of an acute intellect and had considerable mathematical and analytical power.” Davies combined the powers of science with those of aesthetics, perhaps influenced in the latter by his older brother William, a poet and painter. Shortly after the calotype was released from patent restrictions in 1852, Davies took up the process, improving its working methods to the point where he was able to make a significant contribution to the Liverpool Photographic Journal in 1854. In addition to local exhibitions in Warrington, he displayed large numbers of calotype studies of architecture and nature in the 1856 exhibitions of the Photographic Society of Scotland and the Manchester Photographic Society. Davies also contributed a calotype to The Photographic Album for the Year 1857, a wood scene with, as the caption stated, an “exposure twenty-five minutes (usually five) owing to the foliage.” By 1858 he had switched over to collodion albumen negatives and continued to exhibit extensively. Perhaps influenced by his early experience in the glass trade, Davies also became a pioneer in the photography of crystals under the influence of polarized light. 
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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