|Dates: ||1821 - 1906 (ca)|
|Born: ||Great Britain|
Manchester-based British portrait photographer particularly noted for his photographs of the aftermath of the Great Sheffield Flood of 11 March 1864 that killed 250 people.
By about 1847, Mudd was established in Manchester as a master pattern designer in silk, working in conjunction with his brother Robert. He began taking calotypes about 1850, influenced by his friend joseph sidebotham. By 1854 James and Robert had added photography to their calico design business. In the 1856 exhibition of the Manchester Photographic Society the Mudds’ talents became clear. In addition to two collodion views they exhibited the astonishing number of nearly fifty waxed-paper architectural and landscape photographs. These were widely admired for both their composition and their technical excellence. By 1857 the Photographic Establishment of J. & R. Mudd was prepared not only to take photographs and make prints but also to supply cameras and supplies. In an advertisement in the Journal of the Photographic Society, they announced that since the “chemicals and papers in stock are constantly used in the establishment, they are enabled to recommend . . . those materials which, from experience, they know to give the best results.” The two brothers exhibited jointly through 1864, usually in their own glass-negative process of albumen-collodion. Little is known about Robert, but every indication is that James was the master of the calotype and waxed-paper negatives. From 1857 to 1859, their prints were embossed with both names. Prior to that, when paper negatives dominated their work, only James Mudd’s manuscript signature is found. After 1859 the embossed markings are for James Mudd alone until 1875, when he began sharing credit with his son, James Willis Mudd. By 1863 the elder Mudd was listing himself separately as a photographer and as a pattern designer. He had begun to exhibit under his own name starting in 1858, always in the albumen-collodion process, a practice he continued at the 1865 Dublin International Exhibition.
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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