Daguerreian Society

On this day (December 5) in the year 1840, the following article appeared in the 
"Newcastle Chronicle" (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, page 4):
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  At the monthly meeting of the Literary and Philosophical Society, on Tuesday 
last, after the election of members, &c., Mr. H. L. Pattinson gave a minute 
description of the Dauguerreotype[sic], an invention which was, some time ago, 
announced as being likely to occasion quiite a revolution in art. From Mr. 
Pattinson's description, however, we should consider it as a process tedious, 
expensive, and uncertain, and as to its being even a useful auxiliary to the 
progress of the fine arts, extremely problematical. 
  Mr. P. exhibited some drawings taken by himself, one of Ravensworth Castle, 
and two or three views of the Falls of Niagara, which were examined with 
considerable interest. As a proof of the incertitude attending the invention, we 
may state that Mr. Pattinson visited the Falls with the intention of bringing 
away sixty or seventy drawings, but found, on his arrival, that most of the 
plates were defective, owing to the silver not being pure, and he was obliged to 
return with a smaller number of drawings than he originally calculated upon. 
  Mr. Pattinson uses thin copperplates, coated with silver, and highly polished. 
The defective plates were purchased in New York. Mr. Pattinson lauded the King 
of the French, for having purchased the secret of M. Daugerre [sic], and thrown 
it open to the French people, and stated his belief that if our government were 
to purchase Mr. Talbot's secret, and make it common to the public at large, 
considerable benefit would be derived from it. In the course of the evening, it 
was announced that Dr. R. M. Glover would give some observations on the gases in 
coal pits, at the next month meeting of the society.

(Cited from "The Pattinson Daguerreotypes: the first photographs ever taken of 
Niagara Falls":
Six of Pattinson's daguerreotypes are featured on the site.)
Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

Return to: DagNews 1997

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