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HomeContents > People > Photographers > William Keith

Dates:  1829 - 1883
Active:  UK
Stereographs project 
Business locations 
Liverpool, Lancashire, England, UK 
T.K. Treadwell & William C. Darrah (Compiled by), Wolfgang, Sell (Updated by), 11/28/2003, Photographers of the World (Non-USA), (National Stereoscopic Association)
Credit: National Stereoscopic Association with corrections and additions by Alan Griffiths and others.
NOTE: You are probably here because you have a stereograph to identify. Please email good quality copies of the front and back to so we can create reference collections for all.

Preparing biographies

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

As a young chemist Keith was intrigued by photography, joining the Liverpool Photographic Society and soon becoming its secretary. In an 1854 presentation to the society “Mr Keith described the calotype process, in which he had been very successful,” but he soon turned away from paper negatives. That same year Keith sent a collodion-on-glass view to Prince Albert, receiving a reply from Mr. Ernst Becker, librarian to the prince and a founding member of the Photographic Society, and at an 1855 meeting of the society he demonstrated his apparatus for enlarging by gas-light. Keith began offering “Photographic Chemicals of known purity” and in 1857 introduced “Keith’s Collodion,” offering testimony that the chemicals were “prepared exclusively by himself, and have in the course of his extensive practise produced the most splendid pictures.” In the 1861 and subsequent censuses Keith listed himself as “Photographer.” 
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.
If you find any errors please email us details so they can be corrected as soon as possible.

Further research

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If you have a portrait of this photographer or know of the whereabouts of one we would be most grateful.
Family history 
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