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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Thomas Wyatt

Dates:  1799 - 1859
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

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

Wyatt was a portrait painter in the Midlands, practicing in Birmingham, Liverpool, and finally Manchester. His younger brother, Henry, was the more promising of the two artists, but he died at an early age. In Birmingham Wyatt’s portraiture was highly regarded, and he was elected secretary to the Birmingham Society of Artists. In an April 1845 letter Wyatt completed negotiations with Talbot and purchased the exclusive calotype portrait license for Manchester and the surrounding locality. Wyatt had been disappointed with the portraits produced at Antoine Claudet’s establishment but was inspired by what he had seen in Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature and was determined to persist. Wyatt was so entranced by the new art that he neglected his regular painting practice. A bequest from an old friend in Birmingham gave him several hundred pounds more to put into calotypy. Then bad fortune came his way as he started to lose his sight. Wyatt returned to his birthplace and tried to continue painting, but he had to give up even that when he became paralyzed. He died a lingering death, and the Art-Journal launched an appeal for his widow and child. Few of Wyatt’s paintings and none of his photographs are known to 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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