19th Century Photography   Paul Frecker London

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An outdoor cabinet card portrait showing a group of twelve monks in Switzerland. A small, printed paper label pasted to the reverse of the mount reads ‘Les Frères du Grand St. Bernard, et l’Hospice – Suisse.’ The hostel referred to is presumably the building in the background.

The grouping appears haphazard but the monks have actually been arrange quite carefully. The one in the centre at the back with a space around him is reading his breviary. The two at the front on the far right are holding hands.

Photographed by William England.

William England began his photographic career in the 1840’s as the manager of the London daguerreotype portrait studio. He joined the London Stereoscopic Company in 1854, taking thousands of stereoscopic views all over the world. His views of the Niagara Falls, his Paris street scenes shown at the 1862 International Exhibition, and his Alpine views were greatly admired by his contemporaries. In the 1860’s, he established a family printing and processing business in London’s Notting Hill. His most notable technical innovation was a slitted drop shutter, usually regarded as the precursor of the modern focal-plane shutter. [Adapted from a short Internet biography by John P. Ward.]

There seems to be some confusion among the various sources regarding the date of his birth, but according to the 1871 census, on which he appears living at 7, St. James’s Square, North Kensington, with his French wife, Rosalie, and their five children (four sons, one daughter), William England was born at Trowbridge in Wiltshire in or about 1831. He died in 1896.

Other photographs from the same Alpine series as this group portrait, clearly taken on the same occasion, were published as stereoviews.

condition: Very fine.
price:  SOLD
code: cab102
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