Nothing is known about Brodie, save for a substantial group of calotype portraits and genre studies preserved in the Richard Willats album in the collections at Princeton University, all of which seem to be from Jersey. At least 21 of the 255 prints in the album are positively attributed to Brodie and more than 40 others are tentatively so, making up a fourth of this critical early record of photography. There was a William Brodie (not the William Brodie whose story inspired Stevensonís Jekyll and Hyde story) who made a stereoscopic ambrotype of statuary in the Crystal Palace, but the connection seems remote. But while the subject matter and the Jersey location argue against the attribution, the chemist Sir Benjamin Brodie, whom mervyn herbert nevil story maskelyne credited as his first teacher in photography, also remains a possibility.
Roger Taylor & Larry J. Schaaf Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007)
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is included here with permission.
Date last updated: 4 Nov 2012.
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