Virtually nothing is known of Barker’s personal details - surprisingly, since he was one of the most prolific exhibitors of photographs in the period from 1852 to 1857. Working with both glass and paper photography processes, he took some still lifes and also made copies of engravings. However, portraits and architecture were clearly his favored subjects. Most of Barker’s known landscape and architectural views were made in Britain, but he did at least some work at Tivoli. His portrait subjects point both to ties with Ireland and to an interest in archaeology; they include Lord Talbot de Malahide and the Earl of Belmore, an outstanding collector of Egyptian antiquities. In the 1856 exhibition of the Photographic Society in London, Barker included a portrait of William Boutcher, an artist and important archaeologist specializing in Assyria. According to the catalogue, Barker outfitted Boutcher “in Arab dress” and displayed his portrait with photographic copies of Assyrian sculpture.
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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