London 1839

This is (as far as I know) the oldest remaining image of London. I’m afraid I don’t know where it is but wow!!



Victorian Images


A variety of images from the late Victorian era, all from London…there are some lovely shots here…enjoy!

Gustave Doré, his London and his pilgrimage

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Gustave Doré was born in Strasbourg on 6th January 1832 by the time he reached 50 he had signed a five-year project with he publishers, Grant & Co, this deal was worth £10,000 a year which was a huge sum at the time.

This work led him to produce a comprehensive portrait of London. The book, London: A Pilgrimage, with 180 engravings by Dore, was eventually published in 1872 and what a cracking visual feast it is.

“A child prodigy, Doré received little formal artistic training, but his talents as a draughtsman were already apparent during his school years.” Dore’s biographer, David Kerr.

The book was resounding commercial success but did suffer from some detractors due to the nature of the poverty and grime that is so apparent in his work.

The images are an invaluable source of historical image of the great metropolis, I can really recommend this book as the images are fascinating.

Solar Eclipse July 28,1851












A solar eclipse is a sight to behold, we had a partial one a few years (2006 I think) back in London and myself and some friend gathered on the banks of the Thames to watch or rather to experience. I looked up (not recommended) at the sun as the moon passed across the sun and a strange and somewhat eerie twilight settled across the the Thames, the birdsong ceased and the ducks clearly thinking they in for a good nights sleep settled down.

Then as the moon cleared the sun the birdsong slowly reappeared and the ducks awoke and took to flight…it was just odd.

Anyway the photo above was taken in on July 28,1851 in Prussia (was a German kingdom coming out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. Prussia shaped the history of Germany its capital being Berlin after 1451, but it was during the late Victorian era that Prussia was increasingly merged into Germany and lost its own identity. and would be officially abolished in 1947) at the Royal Observatory in Königsberg. It was taken using the daguerreotype process developed by astronomers Franchois Arago and John Herschel.

The technical bit:

Berkowsky connected a six centimeter telescope to a 15.8 centimeter Fraunhofer heliometer. Berkowsky was then able to take a 84 second exposure photograph showing the total eclipse of the sun. Incidentally, the Royal Observatory has the largest heliometer in the world today and takes amazing solar photographs using a similar process. The result of the daguerreotype process was a photo, developed using hyposulphite of soda, just slightly larger than 12 centimeters that must be protected behind glass from air. The frame of the solar eclipse photo has had all air removed and the space filled with nitrogen.

It a wonderful image.