Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs


Michael Faraday’s laboratory, 1891


A glossy, brown-toned, printing-out-paper print showing the laboratory of the eminent British scientist Michael Faraday who made important advancements in the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. Although he died in 1867, the photograph shows his workspace unchanged in 1891, according to an extensive inscription pencilled on the back of the print. This reads:

‘Taken in 1891 / Faraday’s Dark Room where his Magnetic Researches were carried on. This room was not altered when the laboratory was rebuilt in 1871 and is left much as it was in Faraday’s time. The brass plate marked Servants’ Hall is still on the door. Faraday’s seals in red wax are still to be seen on [?] the dark recess wh. is partly hidden by the open door.’

Michael Faraday’s Magnetic Laboratory of the 1850s survived because, for many years after his death, it was used as a storeroom and left undisturbed. It is still to be seen today at the Royal Institution, although what is on show now is a modern reconstruction supposedly based on a painting of the 1850s. The disposition of scientific paraphernalia on the shelves in the modern reconstruction is very different from the arrangement of items seen here, though the layout of the room is very similar.

Photographer unidentified.

Condition: the print, which is unmounted, is a little ragged along its upper edge and at its upper right-hand corner. Its tones are a little cloudy towards its upper right corner but the majority of the image is unaffected and in good condition.

Dimensions: at its widest points, the print measures 4” by 5.7” (10.3 cm by 14.5 cm).

price:  £175
code: cat014
Michael Faraday, Faraday, laboratory, Royal Institution,