Claudet, Antoine François Jean

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b. 12 August 1797 France
d. 27 December 1867 London, England
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French pioneer photographer and photographic inventor in England.
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He began his working life in banking but soon went into glassmaking and in 1829 he moved to London to open a glass warehouse. On hearing of the first practicable photographic processes in 1834, Claudet visited Paris, where he received instruction in the daguerreotype process from the inventor Daguerre, and purchased a licence to operate in England. On returning to London he began to sell daguerreotype views of Paris and Rome, but was soon taking and selling his own views of London. At this time exposures could take as long as thirty minutes and portraiture from life was impracticable. Claudet was fascinated by the possibilities of the daguerreotype and embarked on experiments to improve the process. In 1841 he published details of an accelerated process and took out a patent proposing the use of flat painted backgrounds and a red light in dark-rooms. In June of that year Claudet opened the second daguerreotype portrait studio in London, just three months after his rival, Richard Beard. He took stereoscopic photographs for Wheatstone as early as 1842, although it was not until the 1850s that stereoscopy became a major interest. He suggested and patented several improvements to viewers derived from Brewster's pattern.
Claudet was also one of the first photographers to practise professionally Talbot's calotype process. He became a personal friend of Talbot, one of the few from whom the inventor was prepared to accept advice. Claudet died suddenly in London following an accident that occurred when he was alighting from an omnibus. A memoir produced shortly after his death lists over forty scientific papers relating to his researches into photography.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS 1853.
Further Reading
"The late M.Claudet", 1868, Photographic News 12:3 (obituary).
"A.Claudet, FRS, a memoir", 1968, (reprinted from The Scientific Review), London: British Association (a fulsome but valuable Victorian view of Claudet).
H.Gernsheim and A.Gernsheim, 1969, The History of Photography, rev. edn, London (a comprehensive account of Claudet's daguerreotype work).
H.J.P.Arnold, 1977, William Henry Fox Talbot, London (provides details of Claudet's relationship with Talbot).
JW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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