Men of mark. A gallery of contemporary portraits of men distinguished in the senate, the church, in science, literature and art, the army, navy, law, medicine, etc., photographed from life by Lock and Whitfield and other eminent photographers, with brief biographical notices by Thompson Cooper, F.S.A.
Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington
Bücherreihe, mit Woodburytypien illustriert
Text engl. - Haupteintrag. - The names of the persons portrayed are listed per volume in the following Photolit entries. - This important work was a collaboration between the photographers Samuel Robert Lock (1822-1881) and George Carpe Whitfield (1833-1917) and the journalist Thompson Cooper, F.S.A. (1837-1904) who prepared the brief biographies for the individuals featured. Lock and Whitfield prepared 36 oval Woodburytypes for publication each year. When Lock died in 1881 Whitfield continued the project alone. The total amount of plates is 254, incl. the two frontispiece illustrations in vol. 1 and vol 4. Some photographic plates were acquired from other photographers, e.g. the portrait of Victor Hugo is by Etienne Carjat (1828-1906), the one of Jules Verne by Antoine Samuel Adam-Salomon (1818-1881), both of Paris, the one of Tennyson by London photographer John Jabez Edwin Paisley Mayall (1813-1901). - The “series” was distributed as seven bound volumes, in an unknown but probably low edition. A short biographical sketch of usually one page is followed by a page carrying a mounted woodburytype portrait. There are about 36 portraits per volume, each of them in an excellent printing quality. Though the sitters – exclusively male – are the same, e.g. in different copies of vol. 1 some slight variations of posing and cropping can be observed in a few of the portraits published. This could be due to the relatively low print run which the woodburytype technique allowed. The later volumes seem to be progressively rarer as they have probably seen a lower print run than the introductory volumes. The images are mounted to the pages succeeding the letterpress printed biographies. - The selection of personalities described and depicted would be another matter for future research. They are either British upper class and/or nobility, or have risen to some prominence as members of the military, lawyers, clergymen, artists or writers. Their names were selected when they were alive, though some did not live to see themselves published. If Cooper knew about a death he included this information in his biographical sketch. Were the more prominent invited to the Lock & Whitfield’s studio to be portrayed for free while less prominent but more vain persons where asked to contribute to the substantial costs of this major production? sually a text page or two by Cooper containing biographical data is followed by a woodburytype portrait mounted to the next page. Some introductory texts, e.g. on especially well-known personalities like Gladstone (vol. 6, 1882) are longer. The image size is c. 11.4x91cm with a printed ornamental surround, the name of the model, the photographer’s name or names, and the identification as “Woodbuy Process”. Contrary in some volumes the page with the mounted portrait preceeds the page of printed biographical information; this might be due to a bookbinder’s whim. (HCA). - From the preface by George C. Whitfield (vol. 1, 1876): “The photographs, taken from life, expressly for this publication, are produced in an absolutely permanent form by means of the Woodbury Process. Whilst modifying on the one hand the crudeness which more or less is inseparable from the camera image, and correcting the untruthful rendering of colour which occasionally occurs, I have endeavoured on the other to retain the character and individuality of each subject […].”