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HomeContents > People > Photographers > John Wheeley Gough Gutch

Dates:  1809 - 1862
Born:  England, Briston
Died:  England, London
Active:  Great Britain
 
  

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Approved biography for John Wheeley Gough Gutch
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

 
  
The son of a publisher and antiquarian in Bristol, Gutch was educated at the infirmary there and practiced as a private physician in Florence for two years. Returning to England, he was a physician in Swansea and London until 1850, becoming a fellow of the Linnean Society and a member of the Meteorological Society. After consulting Robert Hunt, Gutch wrote to Talbot about his difficulties in mastering the calotype, and Talbot replied in September 1841, supplying hints, examples of his own work, and even a sheet of iodized paper. Gutch’s opportunities to travel were much enhanced when he was appointed a queen’s messenger in 1850, charged with bearing dispatches to embassies throughout Europe, and the earliest known surviving print from one of his paper negatives is a view of a fountain in Madrid, dated May 21, 1851. He soon turned to wet collodion. Gutch contracted paralysis during a trip to Constantinople, forcing his retirement from the queen’s service but giving him more time to pursue photography. He recalled in 1858 that “from ill-health and lameness, I was on the point of giving up Photography, when, in the early part of 1856, I was shown, for the first time, an ‘Archer’s Camera,’ which appeared to me so thoroughly to combine all that could be desired.” Frederick Scott Archer, better known as the inventor of the wet-collodion negative, also designed a portable camera incorporating a built-in darkroom. Gutch exhibited regularly from 1856 to 1861, primarily landscapes and views of ancient architecture, but also geological studies. Additionally, Gutch edited The Literary and Scientific Register, an annual encyclopedia, which highlighted photographic formulas in its 1857 edition, and at one point almost became editor of the British Journal of Photography
  
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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