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Stereo-daguerreotype entitled Scenes in Our Larder (Onions) by TR Williams, 1856. IL.2003.44.2.265

TR Williams: Still life stereos

TR Williams’s earliest work involved making daguerreotype and wet collodion stereos of intricately arranged animals, fruits, vegetables, skulls, books and other items.

Still life subjects enabled early stereo photographers to experiment with fewer challenges than when using live models, where long exposure times would not always capture movement.

Typically animals photographed in this period were not live due to the long exposure time required, but were usually taxidermy specimens; below, Williams has photographed a stuffed bird and fox:

Image: Stereo-daguerreotype entitled Cock and Fox. Stereo-daguerreotype unsigned but by TR Williams, London, 1856. IL.2003.44.2.319 © Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

Here are some further examples of still life stereo images by TR Williams. At the top of this section is ‘Scenes in Our Larder (Onions), a still life of game, and a fish basket, tied with a luggage label scrawled with ‘Mr TR Williams 236 Regent St. London’. It is no. 27 from Williams’s ‘First Series’ which was advertised in Brewster’s Treatise on the Stereoscope.

Below, we see The Old Larder, a still life of food and wine on a table, and a barrel with the initials ‘TRW’ etched on to it. No. 4 from Williams’s ‘First Series’ advertised in Brewster’s Treatise on the Stereoscope. With a trade label on the back for the sellers, Carpenter & Westley of Regent Street, London.

Image: Stereo-daguerreotype entitled The Old Larder by TR Williams, London, 1856. IL.2003.44.2.313 © Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

This still life (below) is Objects of Vertu and shows the reflection of the photographer’s studio in a glass dome, with a Brewster stereoscope and some sculpture. No. 8 from Williams’s ‘First Series’ advertised in Brewster’s Treatise on the Stereoscope. With a trade label on the back for the sellers, Carpenter & Westley of Regent Street, London:

Image: Stereo-daguerreotype entitled Objects of Vertu unsigned but by TR Williams, London, 1856. IL.2003.44.2.266 © Howarth-Loomes Collection at National Museums Scotland

Further reading:

‘The Poor Man’s Picture Gallery’ by Denis Pellerin & Brian May, Carlton Books, 2014.

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This article is from the free online course:

Stereoscopy: An Introduction to Victorian Stereo Photography

The University of Edinburgh