Art Photography: Francis Frith

The Statues of Memnon, Thebes by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 15.9 x 22.8 cm  - 2017.140.15 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Temple of Wady Kardassy, Nubia by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 1857 - 16.2 x 23.4 cm  - 2017.140.7 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock South End of Philae by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 16.2 x 23.2 cm - 1857 - 2017.140.4  - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Philae from the South by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 16.2 x 23.2 cm - 1857 - 2017.140.3  - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Parthenon, Athens from the East by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 15.2 x 20.8 cm - 1860 - 2017.139.1 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Erechteum, Athens by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 15.2 x 20.8 cm - 1860 - 2017.139.2 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Mount Horeb, Sinai by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 16.2 x 22 cm  - 1857 - 2017.140.5 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Valley of Jehosaphat, Jerusalem by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 16 x 22.5 cm - 2017.140.6 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Circular Temple, Baalbec by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 16.2 x 23.2 cm - 1857 - 2017.140.1 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Entrance of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 23.2 x 16.3 cm - 1857 - 2017.140.8 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock City Wall and Mosque of Omar &c., Jerusalem  by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 15.9 x 22.8 cm - 1857 - 2017.140.11 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Pool of Hezekiah, Jerusalem by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 15.9 x 22.8 cm - 1857 - 2017.140.12 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Arch of Constantine, Rome by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 17 x 23.7 cm - c. 1860 - 2017.138.1 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Pantheon, Rome by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 17 x 23.7 cm - c. 1860 - 2017.138.2 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Colosseum, Rome by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 17.2 x 23.7 cm - c. 1860 - 2017.138.5 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Interior of the Colosseum, Rome by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 17.3 x 23.8 cm - c. 1860 - 2017.138.13 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Stairs of the Place di Spagna, Rome by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 17.2 x 23.7 cm - c. 1860 - 2017.138.9 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Interior of the Arch of Titus, Rome by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 23.2 x 17.8 cm - c. 1860 - 2017.138.11 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Bridge and Castle of St. Angelo, Rome by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 17.2 x 23.7 cm  - c. 1860 - 2017.138.7 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Roman Forum by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 17.2 x 23.7 cm - 1860 - 2017.138.4 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Devil's Bridge, St. Gothard Pass, Switzerland by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 15.9 x 20.9 cm  - 1865 - 2017.136.2 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock View across the Glacier des Bois, Chamonix, France by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 15.5 x 20.9 cm - 2017.136.8 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Promontory of Menaggio, Lake Como by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 15.5 x 20.9 cm - 15.5 x 20.9 cm - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Cascade at Tivoli by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 17.3 x 23.8 cm  - c. 1860 - 2017.138.15 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Martigny, Switzerland by Francis Frith (1822-1898) -  Albumen print on paper - 15.3 x 20.9 cm - 2017.136.1 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Goschinen, St. Gothard Vallery, Switzerland by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 15.9 x 20.9 cm - 2017.136.3 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock Gersau, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 15.9 x 20.9 cm - 2017.136.4 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock The Largest of the Cedars, Mount Lebanon by Francis Frith (1822-1898) - Albumen print on paper - 15.9 x 22.8 cm - 1858 - 2017.140.9 - © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Greenock

Francis Frith: His travels in Egypt, Nubia, the Middle East and Europe

Francis Frith was born in Chesterfield in 1822. He started his photographic business in the 1850s and set out to record the world around him. He saw the purpose of his enterprise as the accurate recording of the subjects he chose, making his images faithful and true records of the locations he visited.

Firth was also a talented amateur artist and he was able to bring a painter's eye to the composition of his images, ensuring that they combined high aesthetics with a full awareness of what the then relatively new medium offered in technical terms. Frith came from a Quaker background and was a strong family man. He believed that photography should not only record but also have add a moral purpose and clarity to its endeavours.

His business went from strength to to strength and he became the most successful British photographer in the Victorian era. He made what was, in effect, an entire photographic survey of Britain and used his travels abroad to bring the world into British households. Frith's business continued to expand and he employed a number of other photographers to assist him.

This page concentrates on the images that Frith produced of scenes outside Britain. This enabled him to offer the public views of locations in places such as Egypt where archaeology was developing quickly and of locations from the Bible and classical antiquity which were hitherto only known from texts. These produced some of Frith's most memorable images and they were made available to the public either as part of his series of publications or as single prints.

When Frith died in 1898 his company had set new standards in the scale, quality and ambition that photography was capable of achieving. His company continued to expand after his death and by 1914 there were 52,000 photographs in the company's archives.

See thousands of images and records from the collections of the McLean Museum and Inverclyde Archives on our Collections Online website. Use the link on the left of the page to take you there.

 

Page last updated: 6 August 2018