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Richard Beard (1801-1885)
Artist associated with 10 portraits
Richard Beard was born in Devon, the son of a grocer in Newton Abbot. He moved to London in 1833 and profitably established himself in the coal trade until 1843. Beard set up in photography as a business speculation. He purchased a licence to use the daguerreotype process in 1841, and opened the world's first photographic studio. It was set up in a glasshouse on the roof of London's Royal Polytechnic Institution to provide all-round lighting, which was necessary to the daguerreotype process. There were huge profits from his studios in London and Liverpool and from the sale of licences to take daguerreotypes, but Beard was ruined by his many legal actions against rivals, and went bankrupt in 1850.