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Object of the Week: Special Rapid Orthochrome Photos (c.1900)


These exquisite photos are a bit of a mystery. They were gifted to the Museum from the collection of documentary photographer Bridget Bishop.

But Bridget, who specialised in photographing rural British crafts industries in the 50s-60s (and whose work is well worth having a look at: Bridget Bishop), did not take these photos herself. Rather they were part of a vast photography collection she amassed through her life for inspiration.

Grass and clover
Musk thistle

The photos are taken from glass plate negatives manufactured by The Imperial Dry Plate Company of Cricklewood, London. These ‘Special Rapid Orthochrome’ plates were renowned for their exceptionally high quality – hence the crisp beauty and detail!

We estimate they were taken c.1900-1910 by a photographer of some skill and possibly some horticultural knowledge.

Common mallow (Malva sylvestris)

This is just a small selection, so let us know if you’d like to see more!

Explore our collection

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