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Bidwell, Shelford (1848–1909), physicist and developer of telephotography, was born on 6 March 1848 at Thetford, Norfolk, the eldest son of Shelford Clarke Bidwell, brewer, of Thetford, who was married to his cousin Georgina, daughter of George Bidwell, rector of Stanton, Norfolk. Educated under the ...

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George Edwards (1694–1773) by Johann Sebastian Müller, 1754 (after Bartholomew Dandridge) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Edwards, George (1694–1773), ornithologist and artist, was born on 3 April 1694 at Stratford, West Ham, Essex, to a family of Welsh descent. He was educated at a boarding-school in Leytonstone and at Brentwood grammar school. He was then apprenticed to John Dod...

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Moses Harris (1730–c. 1788) self-portrait, 1780 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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Harris, Moses (1730–c. 1788), entomologist and artist, was born in Churchyard Alley, Holborn, London, on 15 April 1730, the son of Joseph Harris and his wife, Mary. He had at least two brothers, William and John, the latter a harpsichord maker who emigrated to ...

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Walter Potter (1835–1918) by unknown photographer courtesy of the British Historical Taxidermy Society

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Potter, Walter (1835–1918), taxidermist, was born at Bramber, Sussex, on 2 July 1835 (and was baptized at Bramber on 13 September), the sixth son of James Potter (d. 1867), labourer, and his wife, Sarah (1802/3–1838). His mother died when he was young, and his father, by then employed as a publican, was remarried in 1840, to ...

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Reade, Joseph Bancroft (1801–1870), microscopist and experimenter in photography, was born on 5 April 1801 at Kirkgate, Leeds, Yorkshire, the eldest of six sons and two daughters of Thomas Shaw Bancroft Reade (1776–1841) and his wife, Sarah (d. 1825), daughter of Richard Paley...

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John Reeves (1774–1856) by George Chinnery, 1826–31 © Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge

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Reeves, John (1774–1856), natural history collector and artist, was born on 1 May 1774, the youngest son of the Revd Jonathan Reeves of West Ham, Essex. Left an orphan at an early age, he was educated at Christ's Hospital and afterwards entered the counting house of a tea broker. He joined the ...

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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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William Swainson (1789–1855) by Edward Francis Finden, pubd 1840 (after Mosses) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Swainson, William (1789–1855), naturalist and artist, was born on 8 October 1789 at Newington Butts, London, the son of John Timothy Swainson (1757–1824), customs collector, and his second wife, Frances Stanway (1769–1792). His father was a keen amateur zoologist, well informed and assiduous in his collection of shells, insects, and fossils; he was also a founder member of the ...

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

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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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Taylor, Isaac [known as Isaac Taylor of Stanford Rivers] (1787–1865), writer on theology, artist, and inventor, was born at Lavenham, Suffolk, on 17 August 1787. He was the fourth child and eldest surviving son of Isaac Taylor of Ongar (1759–1829), artist, engraver, and dissenting minister, and his wife, ...

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Watkins, Alfred (1855–1935), archaeologist and inventor of photographic equipment, was born on 27 January 1855 at the Imperial Hotel, Widemarsh Street, Hereford, the third of the ten children of Charles Watkins (1821–1888), a prosperous local farmer, miller, brewer, and hotel owner, and his wife, ...