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Room 20

Making Photographs: A Revolution in Portraiture

The introduction of the daguerreotype from 1839 marked a revolution in portrait making. These unique objects were the first commercially available portrait photographs. The sitter’s likeness appeared on a polished, silver-coated copper plate which had been exposed to light in a camera. Daguerreotypes have a highly reflective surface and were viewed, in hand-held cases, by catching the light at the correct angle. Daguerreotype portraiture caught the public’s imagination, and the photographic studios where they were lucrative businesses and quickly sprang up around the world. This room explores work made by the two earliest photographic portrait studios in London, set up by Richard Beard and Antoine Claudet. They opened within months of each other in 1841. In presenting them side by side, we consider the birth of portrait photography in the United Kingdom.

23 portraits on display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery

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Charles John Canning, Earl Canning, by Richard Beard Studio - NPG P119

Charles John Canning, Earl Canning

by Richard Beard Studio
ninth plate daguerreotype, 1840s
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P119

George Francis Robert Harris, 3rd Baron Harris, by Richard Beard Studio - NPG P117

George Francis Robert Harris, 3rd Baron Harris

by Richard Beard Studio
ninth plate daguerreotype, 1840s
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P117

Sir Robert Joseph Phillimore, 1st Bt, by Richard Beard Studio - NPG P118

Sir Robert Joseph Phillimore, 1st Bt

by Richard Beard Studio
ninth plate daguerreotype, 1840s
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P118

Robert Curzon, 14th Baron Zouche, by Richard Beard Studio - NPG P116

Robert Curzon, 14th Baron Zouche

by Richard Beard Studio
ninth plate daguerreotype, 1840s
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P116

An early photographic studio in London, possibly by an associate of Jabez Hogg, or possibly by  Jabez Hogg - NPG P2091

An early photographic studio in London

possibly by an associate of Jabez Hogg, or possibly by Jabez Hogg
ninth-plate daguerreotype, circa 1843
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P2091

Jabez Hogg, possibly by Jabez Hogg, or by  Richard Beard - NPG P2092

Jabez Hogg

possibly by Jabez Hogg, or by Richard Beard
quarter-plate daguerreotype, mid 1840s
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P2092

Ada Lovelace, by Antoine Claudet - NPG L272

Ada Lovelace

by Antoine Claudet
daguerreotype, circa 1843
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG L272

Michael Faraday; William Thomas Brande, by Antoine Claudet - NPG P740

Michael Faraday; William Thomas Brande

by Antoine Claudet
half-plate daguerreotype, circa 1846
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P740

Charles Babbage, by Antoine Claudet - NPG P28

Charles Babbage

by Antoine Claudet
daguerreotype, circa 1847-1851
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P28

Frederick William Robertson, by William Edward Kilburn - NPG P1

Frederick William Robertson

by William Edward Kilburn
hand-coloured, sixth-plate daguerreotype, late 1840s
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P1

Jenny Lind; Marietta Alboni, Countess Pepoli (née Maria Anna Marzia), by William Edward Kilburn - NPG P956

Jenny Lind; Marietta Alboni, Countess Pepoli (née Maria Anna Marzia)

by William Edward Kilburn
hand-coloured, quarter-plate daguerreotype, 1848
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P956

Sir Charles Wheatstone and his family, by Antoine Claudet - NPG P154

Sir Charles Wheatstone and his family

by Antoine Claudet
stereoscopic daguerreotype, arched top, 1851-1852
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P154

Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, by 'Holmes of New York' - NPG P137

Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon

by 'Holmes of New York'
ambrotype, 1857 or 1858
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P137

An unknown man, by Jabez Hogg, or by  John Frederick Goddard, for  Richard Beard - NPG x199100

An unknown man

by Jabez Hogg, or by John Frederick Goddard, for Richard Beard
ninth plate daguerreotype, March-July 1841
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x199100

Unknown woman, by Jabez Hogg, or by  John Frederick Goddard, for  Richard Beard - NPG x199101

Unknown woman

by Jabez Hogg, or by John Frederick Goddard, for Richard Beard
ninth plate daguerreotype, March-July 1841
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x199101

Hannah Brightwen (née Rowntree), by Richard Beard Studio - NPG x199092

Hannah Brightwen (née Rowntree)

by Richard Beard Studio
ninth plate daguerreotype, circa 1842
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x199092

'Sergeant Major in the Coldstream Guards' (An unknown man), by Antoine Claudet - NPG x199971

'Sergeant Major in the Coldstream Guards' (An unknown man)

by Antoine Claudet
quarter-plate daguerreotype, 1842-1844
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x199971

Unknown woman, by Richard Beard Studio - NPG x199093

Unknown woman

by Richard Beard Studio
ninth plate daguerreotype, mid 1840s
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x199093

Unknown man, possibly Nicolaas Henneman, by Antoine Claudet - NPG x201540

Unknown man, possibly Nicolaas Henneman

by Antoine Claudet
sixth-plate daguerreotype, 1843-1844
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x201540

An unknown girl, by Unknown photographer - NPG x199096

An unknown girl

by Unknown photographer
sixth plate ambrotype, late 1850s
On display in Room 20 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x199096