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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Thomas Ross

Other: Major Ross 
Other: Major Thomas Ross 
Active:  Portugal / India

Preparing biographies

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

In the 1857 exhibition of the Birmingham Photographic Society, a Captain Oakes submitted three Talbotype views of architectural details taken in Portugal, credited only to “Major Ross.” The lender was probably the calotypist, Thomas Oakes. In this period the only navy captain named Ross was Sir James Clark Ross of Antarctic fame, an unlikely candidate. However, the army listed Major Thomas Ross in its 73rd Regiment of Foot. In 1852 the regiment was dispatched to reinforce the army in the Kaffir War in South Africa, but its ship struck rocks just outside Cape Town and sank in less than ten minutes. The soldiers established the practice of women and children first into the lifeboats, and the loss of life was great. The remnants of the 73rd finally returned to their base in England in 1860, and Ross may well have had the opportunity to calotype in Portugal. That may not have been his last photography. In the 1860 Photographic Society of Madras exhibition, Major Thomas Ross of the 73rd exhibited sixteen large views from collodion negatives. The reviewer in Madras was critical of the blurred figures in some of Ross’s photographs, but conceded that “the atmospheric effect . . . is well rendered.” 
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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