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Archer, Frederick Scott (1813–1857), inventor of the collodion process in photography, was the second son of Thomas Archer, a butcher at Hertford, where he was probably born. Orphaned as a child, he was brought up by distant relatives and friends and while still a young man was apprenticed to a silversmith and bullion dealer named ...

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Frederick Scott Archer (1813–1857) by Robert Cade, 1855 Royal Photographic Society

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Dwight, John (1633x6–1703), chemist and potter, is presumed to have been born at Todenham in Gloucestershire, the second son of a yeoman farmer, George Dwight, and his wife, Joane Greenough (d. 1680), whose marriage took place at Bampton in Oxfordshire on 30 September 1630. By 4 March 1632 they were living at ...

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John Dwight (1633x66–1703) by unknown sculptor, c. 1673–5 V&A Images, The Victoria and Albert Museum

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Robert Hunt (1807–1887) by Ernest Edwards, pubd 1864 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hunt, Robert (1807–1887), chemist and photographer, was born at Plymouth Dock (Devonport) on 6 September 1807, the posthumous only child of Robert Hunt (bap. 1781, d. 1807), carpenter on the Moucheron, and his wife, Honour Thomas (1781–1842). Left to support herself and her infant son on a small naval pension, ...

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Ponton, Mungo (1802–1880), inventor of photographic processes and lawyer, the only son of John Ponton, farmer, and his wife, Isabell née Ponton, was born at Balgreen, near Edinburgh, on 23 November 1802. Educated as a lawyer, he was admitted to the Society of Writers to the Signet...

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Mungo Ponton (1802–1880) by unknown photographer, 1870s Heritage Images Partnership

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Spiller, John (1833–1921), chemist and inventor of photographic techniques, was born on 20 June 1833, one of at least two sons of John Horatio Spiller, an architect. Educated at a private school at Crouch End, London, and the City of London School, he then entered the ...

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Talbot, William Henry Fox (1800–1877), pioneer of photography, was born on 11 February 1800 at Melbury, Dorset, the only child of William Davenport Talbot (1764–1800), army officer, of Lacock Abbey, Wiltshire, and Elisabeth Theresa (1773–1846), eldest child of Henry Thomas Fox-Strangways, second earl of Ilchester...

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William Henry Fox Talbot (1800–1877) by Antoine Claudet, 1846 Fox Talbot Museum of Photography

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George Wilson (1818–1859) by Thomas Rodger © National Portrait Gallery, London

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P. J. Hartog

revised by R. G. W. Anderson

Wilson, George (1818–1859), chemist and museum director, the son of Archibald Wilson (1784–1843), a wine merchant from Argyll, and his wife, Janet Aitken, was born at Edinburgh on 21 February 1818 with a twin brother, John, who died in 1836. His elder brother, ...