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Book provides picture of photography pioneer
WHEN Sarah Acland was a child she was photographed by Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll .
As a result, the daughter of a Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford was inspired to become one of the pioneers of colour photography in the late Victorian and early Edwardian periods.
Now a book has compiled more than 200 examples of her work, including previously unpublished photos from the Bodleian Library’s collection.
Marston author Giles Hudson, 41, has written a study of the pioneering photographer entitled Sarah Angelina Acland: First Lady of Colour Photography.
Cambridge graduate Mr Hudson worked as a photographer at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford in the 1990s, before starting work on a doctorate about Miss Acland at Oxford University ’s Lincoln College.
The father-of-one said he was delighted the book was published earlier this month following three years of work. And he hopes it will draw attention to the work of Miss Acland, who took up photography in 1891.
Mr Hudson said: “She was a pioneer in colour photography and the first amateur person to take colour pictures and receive acclaim for doing so.
“She lived at a house in Broad Street and began experimenting with colour photography in 1899.
“She specialised in the Sanger Shepherd process where separate photos were taken through red, green and blue filters and then recombined to make one colour image.
“She was working in colour photography long before 1907 when it was deemed to have been invented by the Lumiere brothers, with their Autochrome process. She started off working in black and white, mainly in portraiture, and there are about 1,000 examples of her work, the majority of them glass plates.”
Miss Acland’s first public success came with a portrait of Prime Minister William Gladstone, which she took in a studio at her home after he had given the first Romanes lecture.
But people from all walks of life sat for Miss Acland’s portraits – including Mary Barney, the widow of an Oxford chimney sweep.
Following the publication of his first book, Mr Hudson says he may not be finished with studying 19th century photographers.
He added: “The Oxford Camera Club was quite active in the 1890s and during that period it became a mass hobby because of a leap in technology. There are parallels with the way that digital photography has inspired people in recent years to take more photos.”
Miss Acland was born in 1849 and died in 1930.
Sarah Angelina Acland: First Lady of Colour Photography is published by Bodleian Library Publishing, price £45.
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