Wedgwood and his circle: Early photography in its cultural setting

Thursday 12 May 2005, from 10am

At the Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS

In 1802 Tom Wedgwood working with Humphry Davy in the basement laboratory of the Royal Institution found how to create images on pieces of glass by chemical means. He published his results in the Journal of the Royal Institution under the title ‘An account of a method of copying paintings upon glass, and of making profiles by the agency of light upon nitrate of silver’. This was the beginnings of what became known as photography and although neither Wedgwood or Davy were able to permanently fix the images, their work at least pointed the way for the researches of William Henry Fox Talbot and others later in the century. This year marks the bicentenary of the death of Wedgwood and this one day meeting is being held to commemorate his short life.

As well as covering his and later photographic work (including demonstrations of early photographic techniques), topics will include his involvement with Davy, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the English Romantic movement generally.

Speakers will be:

Larry Schaaf (Independent scholar) David Knight (University of Durham) Neil Vickers (King’s College, London), Gavin Budge (University of Central England) Michael Gray (Independent scholar) Olivier Richon (Royal College of Art) Alan Barnes (University of Derby) Tim Hunkin (Writer and broadcaster)

There will also be a small display of Wedgwood material in the Faraday Museum.

The meeting begins at 10am. To register please visit