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A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Frequently Asked Questions

 

  

Art Manufactures Exhibition

1839

 1839 Exhibition

An Exhibition of Art Manufactures and Practical Science was held in the Assembly Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh from December 1839 to January 1840.

This must have been one of the first exhibitions in Britain to include photographs.  The photographic exhibits in the exhibition were:

Mr Astley 3 Daguerreotypes of Bonnington Chemical Works, Edinburgh
Louis Jacques Mand Daguerre Daguerreotype view of Tuilleries
James Davidson Photogenic Camera made by Mr Davidson
William Henry Fox Talbot 20 Photogenic Drawings

Photographs exhibited in Britain, 1839-1865  [Roger Taylor]

 

 

Question

Who was Mr Astley?

The exhibitors, Daguerre, Davidson and Talbot need no further introduction, but what is known about Mr Astley and his photography?   I have not found any reference to his photographs having been exhibited in any other exhibitions.

I believe that one of the office bearers of the Royal Society of Edinburgh paid an early visit to Daguerre's studio in Paris.  Did he have any connection with Mr Astley?

 

Answer

Who was Mr Astley?

Daguerreotypes of Bonnington Chemical Works

I have received an email from Anthony Hamber who tells me that he is trying to discover who Mr Astley was.

Anthony Hamber wrote

A "Mr. Astley" exhibited in December 1839 at the Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures in the Assembly Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh, three Daguerreotypes of the Bonnington Chemical Works located near the city.  Does anybody have more information on who Astley was and why the Daguerreotypes were taken? 

I presume these images have not been located.

Anthony Hamber:  24 September 2004

Anthony suggests that Astley's Daguerreotypes might have been a 'commission' of some sort, perhaps arranged through Edmund Rolans, the owner of Bonnington Chemical Works (aged 20 in 1939) or his father.

Letter from Bonnington Chemical Works

Thank you to Bill Cochrane, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada who has also taken an interest in Mr Astley.

Bill Cochrane wrote

Letter

I came across a letter from Bonnington Chemical Works to Robert Menzies, Charlestown Colliery.  The letter is signed "Thomas Astley" which I assume was the manager or owner of the Works with the authority to order the coals. 

Bill Cochrane:  11 August 2005

Joseph & Thomas

As to Thomas Astley, I came across a Thomas Astley buried in Inveresk Kirkyard

THOMAS ASTLEY, manufacturing chemist, Magdalene Bridge, Fisherrow, eldest son of the late Joseph Astley, died October 1st, 1850, aged 41 years.

Joseph Astley, Thomas' father was also a Manufacturing Chemist (died 1832) and Thomas was buried in the family plot. A search of the 1841 Census for Fisherrow showed no Thomas Astley at this location although a  Rebecca Astley, 60, lived on the east side of South Wynd.  I have now assumed that  Thomas Astley lived near the Bonnington Chemical Works.

If this Thomas Astley was the  exhibitor of the 3 photos in 1839, he would have been 30 years old at the time. The Thomas Astley of the 1845 letter did work for the Chemical Works.  Since he was a manufacturing chemist he would have had the knowledge to understand the daguerreotype process. 

Bill Cochrane:  28 August 2005

Rebecca

Rebecca Astley, 60,  I mentioned (above) living in South Wynd in 1841 was, in fact, the wife of Joseph Astley - so she was Thomas Astley's mother - "REBECCA ASTLEY, widow of JOSEPH ASTLEY, who died at Fisherrow Sept.19th 1846 aged 65 years" She was also buried in the family plot.

Another tie-in with Bonnington Chemical Works was John Wilson Anderson, Chemist (possibly Thomas Astley's bother-in-law) also worked there and he died 22nd Dec.1836 at Bonnington.

Bill Cochrane:  31 August 2005

 

Further Research into

Ashley's Letter from Bonnington Chemical Works

Thank you to Bill Cochrane for providing further details of his research in February 2006: a copy of an article by Bill that appeared in the Winter 2005 edition of The Scottish Post (No 108, pp.3-4)

The title of the article is: "A 1845 Letter with a Story"

Here are some brief details from Bill's article:

Thomas Ashley's Daguerreotypes

Mr Ashley showed three daguerreotypes of the Bonnington Chemical Works, Edinburgh in an Exhibition of Art Manufactures and Practical Science held in the Assembly Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh from December 1939 to January 1840.  Among the exhibitors was Daguerre himself.

Daguerre

Mr Daguerre had granted Alphonse Giroux, a curio and stamp dealer in the Rue du Coq, St Honore the right to sell the materials and equipment for the preparation of daguerreotype
(Pierre G Harmat, History of Photogrpahy, Vol 1, No 1, pp.79-83:  Jan 1977).

Daguerre wrote a manual, cost 2 Francs on his process and this was available by September 1839 and in Paris, Messrs Suisse Freres 'give demonstrations of Daguerreotypy every day from noon to three'.  So for Thomas Astley to produce daguerreotypes of the chemical works by December 1839 he must have travelled to Paris or had an Edinburgh contact who did.

Thomas Ashley

Family

Thomas Ashley was born at Bo'ness on 22 November 1808 to Joseph Astley and Rebecca Stokes who originated from Lancashire.  His parents moved to Derbyshire where his two sisters, Mary and Ellen, were born prior to their move to Bo'ness.

The family moved to Edinburgh, most likely in the 1820s and Joseph was engaged as a chemical manufacturer.  Joseph died in June 1832.

Thomas Ashley

Home and Work

Thomas Astley also became a manufacturing chemist and was employed at Bonnington Chemical Works, about 1830. 

During the 1840s, Thomas Astley lived at 4 George Place, Leith Walk, located n the SW corner of Leith Walk and Pilrig Road intersection, which was only about 800 yards from the  chemical works.

He never married and died intestate on 1st October 1850, aged 41.

Bill Cochrane:  February 21, 2006

 

 

Monumental Inscriptions

Thank you to Phil Wilson, Aberdeen, Scotland for further investigations. 

Phil wrote:

Joseph & Thomas & Family

Here is a link to a site that lists the Monumental Inscriptions in Inveresk Kirkyard, extant in 1857.  These inscriptions include (at Nos. 108 and 109):

  -  Joseph Astley, Edinburgh Chemical Manufacturer
     
d.24 Jan 1832, Age 54.

  -  Thomas Astley, Manufacturing Chemist, Magdeline Bridge
     
d.1 Oct 1850, Age 41.  [Thomas was the son of Joseph.]

  -  Ann, Phoebe Ann and May
    
daughters of Joseph

  -  John Wilson Anderson
   
 husband of Ann

  -  William Channing
     son of John Wilson and Ann

Thomas Astley may be the photographer, Mr Astley, who exhibited three Daguerreotype photographs in December 1839 at the Exhibition of Arts, Manufactures in the Assembly Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh.

Chemical Works Owner

The owner of Bonnington Chemical works, I also found, was a man from London called Edmund Ronalds. If you could find a connection between the brothers and this latter chap, you might have your man.

After all, chemical manufacturers would have all the necessary chemicals and be ideally placed for photography.

Phil Wilson, Aberdeen, Scotland.    30 August 2005

 

Exhibitions

Photographic Exhibitions      Edinburgh      Britain

Other Exhibitions:                 Edinburgh        Glasgow

 

Early Photography  - Other Pages 

 

  

 

Links to Other Pages

EdinPhoto - Home Page      Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.      At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.            At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.  Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.  Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.  The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.  The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.  EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.  Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photogrpahers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material  Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.  Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?  Please add your questions, suggestions or other comments to the Guest Book.  Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.  Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.  Details of who owns the copyright of photographs and other mateiral on this web site.

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Frequently Asked Questions

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