Francis FRITH

1822—1898

An artist photographer, who set up a photography company in Reigate, Frith took advantage of the arrival of the national railway system which made cheap holidays widely available, and his photos in post-card or folio format made popular souvenirs, such as Chapel Street Penzance (1860). 

Frith was one of the finest landscape photographers of the 19th Century, and an astute businessman whose photographic printing firm remained in business for over a hundred years - and continues today as an archival source for pictoral representations of places, people and equipment. The books including the work of his photographic teams remains an impressive record of the development of Britain for over a hundred years, as shown in postcards and reprints, and are collected today.

This latter achievement has perhaps tended to make historians dismiss him as a commercial photographer, but his own work, and business were both founded on paying attention to detail and working hard to produce the best possible results. He began photography in the early days of the collodion or wet plate process, which could produce finely detailed images that in some respects are superior to modern images where the gelatin emulsion limits the performance.