Saturday, October 15, 2011

Photos in Books











It isn't unusual to find books which have photographs as illustrations. I've seen a number of mid-Victorian topographical works which are illustrated with either tipped in or pasted in photos. This one, I found irresistible. As you can see it is the catalogue of one man's collection, a man who is interesting enough to have had his biography written: The Life of Richard Waldo Sibthorp. The blurb to the biography reads: "Richard Sibthorp, youngest son of a celebrated Lincolnshire family, became through his forceful preaching and acknowledged piety, one of the leading Anglican Evangelicals of the 1820s. During the next decade his Old Testament studies turned him into a High Churchman who transformed his chapel on the Isle of Wight into a pioneering centre of ritualism. In 1841, at great personal cost, he converted to Rome. More astonishing was his announcement, in October 1843, that he was returning to the Establishment."


Unfortunately, this copy isn't in very good condition but you have to ask yourself just how many copies could have been 'published', and I think this is the crux of my fascination with this book, just how much work it must have taken to put together. There must be well over 100 photos which not only had to be taken but developed and then stuck onto the pages of the book, probably before binding. Readers may remember that R is a bit of a pot freak, in the purely ceramic sense, and add that to the mix and I could hardly leave this one on the shelf now could I?


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