EPS Founding Member  +  BJP Editor

J Traill Taylor



Early Interest in Photography

John Traill Taylor practised Daguerreotype as a youth.

Whilst working in Edinburgh, he came into contact with the early photographers and scientists:

William Henry Fox Talbot
Taylor conducted experiments with Talbot, and wrote an account of Talbot's life, published in BJP, 1864.

Sir David Brewster
Sir David Brewster was President of the Photographic Society of Scotland, in Edinburgh from 1856.

Mungo Ponton
Mungo Pontin gave accounts of his early experiments in photography to the Royal Scottish Society of Arts in Edinburgh in 1839.

Professor Piazzi Smyth
Piazzi Smyth was Astronomer Royal for Scotland, based at Calton Hill, Edinburgh.  He gave lectures to Edinburgh Photographic Society.

Robert H Bow
Robert H Bow gave lectures to Edinburgh Photographic Society on a wide variety of subjects between 1861 and 1896.

Thomas Davidson
Thomas Davidson was an optician, who produced lenses for many early Edinburgh photographers, including Hill & Adamson.

Photographic Societies

J Traill Taylor was:

-  a Founding Member of  Edinburgh Photographic Society in 1856.

-  Secretary & Treasurer of Dumfries & Galloway Photographic Society in its first year, 1857.  This society appeared not to survive for very long.

-  a Council Member of The Photographic Society of London (for many years).

-  a Trustee of the London and Provincial Photographic Association.

-  an Honorary Member of The Photographic Club

-  an Honorary Member of The Camera Club

-  a Member of many other photographic societies in Europe and USA


He promoted the Photographic Convention of the United Kingdom, and the Chairman of the first Convention, held in Derby.    [Biog TP]

Until the early 1890s, he continued to give lectures on optics to many of these societies.  [Obit. BJP]

Daguerreotype  -  1850s

J Traill Taylor described his first interest in photography, after seeing an daguerreotype portrait in Edinburgh.  He became determined to thoroughly master the art.    [Biog TP]

Optical Lantern  -  1860

In 1860, Traill Taylor gave a lecture to the Royal Scottish Society of Arts entitled:

  "The Use of the Optical Lantern in Photography".

It was reported that this was the first time that photographic slides had been exhibited in public, and that the room was crowded to the doors.    [Biog TP]

Colour Photography  - 1861

In 1861, he experimented with colour photography, but was unable to fix his coloured images.

Soft Focus Lens  - 1863

In 1863, he showed a lens of his own construction to a Meeting of the Photogrpahic Society of Scotland.  He described this lens as: having the now well-known arrangement for giving either sharpness or diffusion of focus.  Such a lens was some years later put on the market by a commercial firm  [Probably Dallmeyer?]    [Biog TP]

[Obit. BJP]  =  Obituary:  British Journal of Photography, 15 November 1895, p.725

[Biog TP]  =  Biography:  The Photogram, March 1895 p.57



John Traill Taylor  -  Photograph published in The Photogram  -  1895

J TRAILL TAYLOR:   Timeline     Interests    Journalism    Photography    EPS Lectures

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PORTRAITS of J TRAILL TAYLOR    1859    1890    1895    Carte de Visite   Thumbnails