Friday, 21 December 2007

Early Derby Photographers (1) - Richard Keene

In the collection of portraits at the Derby Local Studies Library which I looked through recently, I was excited to find several of the photographers themselves.

Image © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies LibraryImage © & courtesy of Derby Local Studies Library

This one is a portrait of one of Derby's leading photographers, Richard Keene (1825-1894), by James Brennen. It is dated on the reverse, June 1863, about four years after he had established his own portrait studio.

Although primarily a printer, bookseller, stationer and, by 1855, publisher of the Derbyshire Telegraph, he developed an interest in photography, and travelled throughout Derbyshire with friends, taking pictures of architecture, topography and landscapes. He started by selling prints of the high quality photos for which he became reknowned, but also set up and operated a successful portrait studio from at least 1859, produced private commissions for firms, estates and families, and took photos in many other counties. He was an associate of Fox Talbot, and his work reportedly included commissions by the Royal Family. In 1884 he was a founder member of the Derby Photographic Society, he was the recipient of 34 major awards, and he also became President Elect of the Photographic Convention of the United Kingdom.

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