|Dates: ||1809 - 1879|
The son of an admiral, Dr. Mansell completed his medical studies in Dublin and took an active interest in science, distinguishing himself particularly in the study of meteorology. Through marriage he was related to William Thomas Collings. Mansell was initially frustrated by the calotype process, for the photographs he took by the seaside were overly rich in blue light, burning out the sky. However, in the autumn of 1852 he discovered a means of overcoming this problem. Like many early photographers, Mansell was acutely aware of the important differences between individual batches of paper. His personal favorites, he wrote in Humphrey’s Journal, were Whatman’s 1849 and Turner’s Chafford Mills, that is, “if two or three years old.” Mansell published his techniques for producing waxed-paper negatives in 1853-54. Beginning in 1856 his considerable contributions to the exhibitions were all made using collodion, as were the works he included in the Photograph Exchange Club’s 1855 album and The Photographic Album for the Year 1857. An ardent horticulturalist, Mansell later became a magistrate.
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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