Hugh Owen (English, 1808-1897)
Cart and thatched kindling storehouse
Albumen print, 1860s-1870s, from a paper negative, before 1855
17.6 x 22.5 cm mounted on 26.0 x 28.3 cm album sheet
Numbered "36" in pencil on mount
By the mid 1850s when the collodion on glass negative negative dominated British commercial photography, Hugh Owen remained loyal to Talbot's calotype negative process on paper. Owen's day job, as a Cashier for Brunel's Great Western Railway, stood in marked contrast to his artistic endeavors. He began with the daguerreotype but, in 1845, he turned to Talbot and borrowed some calotypes to illustrate a lecture. Owen was smitten by what Talbot sent him and within less than two years became a master of the paper negative.
The range of tones in this study by Owen is extraordinary. Whether still life or urban street scene, nature or artifice, Owen's photographs are finely composed and exquisitely rendered.