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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Horatio Ross

Dates:  1801 - 1886
Active:  Great Britain
 
  

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Horatio Ross
Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum (London, UK)

 
  
Horatio Ross was a landed gentleman, regarded as one of the greatest all-round sportsmen of his day. He was also an amateur photographer, active at the very beginning of the medium’s history. He was a founder and president of the Photographic Society of Scotland, where he recommended fellow amateurs should use their cameras to capture the beauties of the Highlands and the Scottish countryside, rather than using them for portraits. 
  
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Victoria & Albert Museum and is included here with permission. 
  
Date last updated: 11 Nov 2011. 
  
SHARED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION PROJECT 
  
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
 
If you find any errors please email us details so they can be corrected as soon as possible.
 
  

Approved biography for Horatio Ross
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

 
  
Ross had a reputation as the deadliest and most enthusiastic shooter in Scotland. That was for game, but in many ways it applied to photography as well. Ross sat beside Talbot in the 1833 Reform Parliament. His parish minister was James Brewster, brother of Sir David Brewster, and the men were exceptionally close. However he first heard about photography, Ross recalled making his first daguerreotypes in 1843 or 1844. He was one of the few British landscape daguerreotypists. Financial problems set in, and Ross had to give up his home, Rossie Priory, and take up residence northwest of Stonehaven, near the royal family’s Balmoral Castle. Ross, apparently, began to see the limitations of the metal-plate daguerreotype, and on March 26, 1849, he paid for a series of calotype lessons from the firm of Ross & Thomson (no relation). He became disillusioned with the paper process when he found that the texture of his beloved mountain subjects was rendered almost as flat planes, and he moved on to the waxed-paper negative process. Ross entered a large number of collodion views in the 1856 Photographic Society of Scotland exhibition, but in that of the 1857 Birmingham Photographic Society he exhibited more waxed paper than collodion. Most of his fifteen paper entries were scenes taken on his estate, but one was a portrait, A Very Old Highlander, and another a view of the Sir Walter Scott Monument in Edinburgh. After that Ross exhibited waxed paper extensively, including at the 1859 Glasgow Photographic Society exhibition. He became one of the founding members of the Photographic Society of Scot-land and in 1857 read a paper there, “On the Comparative Merits of the Different Processes of Photography in Taking Views in Mountainous Districts.” In 1859 Ross took delight in presenting the society’s gold medal to Talbot, as he wrote to the inventor on March 9, 1859, “as a mark of their respect, & of gratitude to you as the great discoverer of photography.” The Scotsman’s reviewer of the 1861 exhibition of the Photographic Society in Edinburgh noted on February 4, 1861, “Mr. Horatio Ross is celebrated for his love of and proficiency in field sports, and displays the same taste in his selection of subjects for photographic representation. He may be termed the Landseer of amateur photography.” Ross maintained his dual interests of photography and hunting until the end of his life. 
  
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. 
  
SHARED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION PROJECT 
  
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
 
If you find any errors please email us details so they can be corrected as soon as possible.
 
  

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Portraits 
  
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