Henry Peach Robinson
Henry Peach Robinson (born July 9,
1830 in Ludlow, Shropshire - died February 21, 1901) was an English
Pictorialist photographer best known for his pioneering of
combination printing - joining multiple negatives to form a single
image, the precursor to photomontage. According to his letters, he
was influenced by the paintings of J.M.W. Turner.
Robinson was the eldest of the four children of John Robinson, a
Ludlow schoolmaster, and his wife Eliza. He was educated at Horatio
Russell's academy in Ludlow until he was thirteen, when he took a
year's drawing tuition with Richard Penwarne before being
apprenticed to a Ludlow bookseller and printer, Richard Jones.
While continuing to study art, his initial career was in
bookselling, in 1850 working for the Bromsgrove bookseller Benjamin
Maund, then in 1851 for the London-based Whittaker & Co. In 1852 he
exhibited an oil painting, On the Teme Near Ludlow, at the Royal
Academy. That same year he began taking photographs, and five years
later, following a meeting with the photographer Hugh Welch Diamond,
decided to devote himself to that medium, in 1855 opening a studio
in Leamington Spa, selling portraits.
In 1859 he married Selina Grieves, daughter of a Ludlow chemist,
John Edward Grieves.
In 1864, at the age of thirty-four, Robinson was forced to give up
his studio due to ill-health from exposure to toxic photographic
chemicals. Relocating to London, Robinson kept up his involvement
with the theroetical side of photography, writing the influential
essay Pictorial Effect in Photography, Being Hints on Composition
and Chiaroscuro for Photographers, published in 1868. Around this
time his health had improved sufficiently to open a new studio in
Tunbridge Wells with Nelson King Cherrill, and in 1870 he become
vice-president of the Photographic Society.
The partnership with Cherrill dissolved in 1875, Robinson continuing
the business until his retirement in 1888. Following internal
disputes within the Photographic Society, he resigned in 1891 to
become one of the early members of the rival Linked Ring society, in
which he was active until 1900, when he was also elected an honorary
member of the Royal Photographic Society.
He died and was buried in Tunbridge Wells in early 1901.
Fading Away, 1858.
Albumen composite print. Royal Photographic Society, Bath, England.
Elaine Watching the Shield of Lancelot
When the Day's Work is Done
A Holiday in the Wood
HE NEVER TOLD HIS LOVE
The Lady of Shalott
She Runs Home and Tells Her Mother All about It, 1858
Dawn and Sunset, 1885
Little Red Riding Hood and Fading Away
Here They Come
H P Robinson at Home
A Maiden Meditation Fancy Free
A Strange Fish
What is it?
Preliminary Sketch with Photo Inserted, c. 1860.
Albumen print and pastel collage on paper. Gernsheim Collection.
Humanities Research Center, University of Texas. Austin.