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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Thames Street, Windsor


Creator: Arthur James Melhuish (1824-95) (photographer)
Creation Date: 
1854 - 1856
Materials and techniques: 
Salted paper print
38.2 x 49.0 cm
Acquirer: Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom (1819-1901)
Acquired by Queen Victoria

Photograph of Thames Street in Windsor with the Castle Wall and Curfew Tower on the left and the facades of buildings and shops on the right.

Thames Street must have been alive with traffic and pedestrians when this photograph was taken, yet we are presented with an unnaturally empty scene. This was one of the problems encountered when using the relatively insensitive waxed paper process which required lengthy exposure times. Moving objects were not still long enough to be imprinted on the negative and, therefore, became invisible. This created one of the paradoxes of early photography: images appeared to be accurate in terms of their detail, however, the technology used undermined the truth of the representation.

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