|Dates: ||1801 - 1861|
A landscape painter in Bristol, West exhibited in the Royal Academy from 1845 and was elected a member of the Society of British Artists. In 1828 he had acquired the rights to an eighteenth-century windmill, spectacularly sited overlooking the Clifton Gorge. By the following year he had installed an astronomical observatory complete with a camera obscura (still available to the public today). In April 1839 West started exhibiting “various kinds of photogenic drawing” and was selling “superior photogenic paper” at the observatory. In December 1842 he wrote to Talbot, explaining that “having been for some time as an Amateur engaged in photographic pursuits,” he would like to obtain a license to practice it commercially. No surviving examples of his work are known.
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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