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HomeContents > People > Photographers > William A. Pumphrey

Other: W. Pumphrey 
Other: W.A. Pumphrey 
Other: William Pumphrey 
Dates:  1817 - 1905
Active:  UK

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for William A. Pumphrey
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

The son of a Quaker glover, Pumphrey moved to York in 1845 to take a position as a science teacher. The new art of photography intrigued him so much that in 1849 he established his Photographic Portrait Gallery, York’s first such business. Pumphrey found the daguerreotype process that he employed for portraiture too limiting and in 1852 began using calotype. The following year he published Photographic Views of York and Its Environs, marking the start of an extensive documentation project. Probably for financial reasons, Pumphrey sold his studio in 1854 to become the director of a lunatic asylum. He continued to lecture on science. On November 7, 1854, the Yorkshire Gazette observed (as an author noted in 1986), “Mr. Pumphrey . . . entered at some length into the origin and progress of the art during the last 30 years and discussed the merits and demerits of the several processes, the daguerreotype and the calotype. He illustrated his remarks with some interesting experiments and a large collection of very beautiful photographic pictures.” Pumphrey showed collodion work in the 1856 Photographic Society exhibition in London. It was his only participation in these exhibitions, but he continued to photograph both at home and abroad throughout the rest of his life. 
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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William A. Pumphrey
The Gate, Fountains Hall [Yorkshire] 
1853 (ca)
Family history 
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