BOULTON, M[atthew] P[iers] W[att]

Remarks on some evidence recently communicated to the Photographic Society (1863)

$1,940

Remarks on some evidence recently communicated to the Photographic Society (1863)
Remarks concerning certain photographs supposed to be of early date. (1864)

Remarks concerning certain pictures supposed to be photographs of early date. (1865)

London: Bradbury & Evans. 1863-65.

Eight pamphlets under three titles. Privately printed by M.P.W. Boulton between 1863 and 1865, the three titles concern a dispute about the origins and invention of photography and are a refutation by Boulton of claims made in 1863 by F.P. Smith. Further details of this are given below. Each title has more than one version. Boulton issued each pamphlet and then added further notes to it to build up his argument. This means that each title has a final complete form but these represent an expanded version of the first issued pamphlet. The final form of each title is here in this collection of eight different versions of the three works (items 2,6 and 8 below) but we can see from the other pamphlets how, and at what point, Boulton introduces new evidence and develops further strands in his detailed discussion. There is an overlap between the variants within each title but no two pamphlets are exactly the same. All of these pamphlets are rare institutionally and two variants are unrecorded. We are offering one set of all eight pamphlets.

1863. Remarks on some evidence recently communicated to the Photographic Society.

1.

Remarks on some evidence recently communicated to the Photographic Society. 1863.
pp. 6, 63. This is the 1863 publication Remarks on some evidence recently communicated to the Photographic Society (pp6). Bound with Remarks concerning certain photographs supposed to be of early date. 1864. Pp. 63. Five plates. The edition of the 1864 Remarks concerning certain photographs is variant 4 below but with the addition of Notes F,G,H and I and a print of a camera obscura.

One copy located at the National Gallery of Art Library Washington.

2.

Remarks on some evidence recently communicated to the Photographic Society. 1863.
pp. 6, 71. This is the 1863 publication, Remarks on some evidence recently communicated to the Photographic Society (pp6). Bound with Remarks concerning certain photographs supposed to be of early date. pp. 71. Eight plates.
The edition of the 1864 Remarks concerning certain photographs is as above (although pp61-63 have a very slight difference in the typesetting) but with the addition of Notes K and L and three lithographs by Vincent Brooks: Plate 5. Winson Green, from a photograph recently taken. Plate 6. Copy of a Drawing of Winson Green made in 1841. Plate 7. Photograph in Kensington Museum alleged to represent Old Soho House.
Six copies on Worldcat (Bodleian, BL, Getty, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, Royal Danish Library, Danish Union Catalogue)


1864. Remarks concerning certain photographs supposed to be of early date.

3.
Remarks concerning certain photographs supposed to be of early date.

pp. 28. Two chapters and notes to chapter one (Notes A and B). Stitched at spine.
No copies recorded.

4.
Remarks concerning certain photographs supposed to be of early date.
pp.55. Chapters I and II as above but with the addition of Chapter III and Notes to Chapter III (Note C) and three plates. One wood engraving illustration in the text.
Plate 1. "Sketch from the photograph in Soho Library alledged (sic) to represent Old Soho House".
Plate 2. Restoration of the House represented in the photograph found in the library.
Plate 3. The house at Holker.
One copy on Worldcat at Rijksmuseum Library

5.
Remarks concerning certain photographs supposed to be of early date.

pp.56. As in 2 above but with the addition of a fourth plate and a Note D to Chapter III.
Plate 1. "Sketch from the photograph in Soho Library alledged (sic) to represent Old Soho House".
Plate 2. Restoration of the House represented in the photograph found in the library.
Plate 3. The house at Holker. (Vincent Brooks lithograph)
Plate 4. Soho House in its modern state (Vincent Brooks lithograph)
Four copies on Worldcat: Yale; George Eastman Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; University of Arizona.

6.
Remarks concerning certain photographs supposed to be of early date.

pp.58. As in 3 above but with the addition of a Note E to Chapter III.
Plate 1. "Sketch from the photograph in Soho Library alledged (sic) to represent Old Soho House".
Plate 2. Restoration of the House represented in the photograph found in the library.
Plate 3. The house at Holker. (Vincent Brooks lithograph)
Plate 4. Soho House in its modern state (Vincent Brooks lithograph)
No copies recorded.

1865. Remarks concerning certain pictures supposed to be photographs of early date.
7.
Remarks concerning certain pictures supposed to be photographs of early date.

pp. 55, [1]. 4 plates. Plate 1 "The Photograph in Kensington Museum, alleged to be Old Soho House", Plate 2 "Winson Green, from a photograph recently taken", Plate 3 "Copy of a drawing of Winson Green made in 1841", and Plate 4 "Soho House in its modern state". Stitched with string.
No copies recorded on Worldcat but there are copies of editions with 29pp and 31pp. This edition (with 55pp) is an expanded version of these with additional material.
This edition ends with a discussion of the work of Mr Wallis. The last paragraph reads: "I might make remarks on various other conjectures put forward by Mr Wallis but I do not think it would be interesting to do so; it being sufficiently clear that he has no real acquaintance with the facts, and that he has copiously indulged in conjectures which are quite erroneous".

8.
Remarks concerning certain pictures supposed to be photographs of early date.

8vo. pp. 74 incl. title-page plus 4 lithographic plates - Plate 1 "The Photograph in Kensington Museum, alleged to be Old Soho House", Plate 2 "Winson Green, from a photograph recently taken", Plate 3 "Copy of a drawing of Winson Green made in 1841", and Plate 4 "Soho House in its modern state". Stitched. Near Fine. pp1-55 are as above (save for omission of the last paragraph).
This edition appears to follow on from the previous one as it does consider and engage with the work of Mr Wallis in more detail. It omits the last paragraph of the previous edition (quoted above) and continues on p55 with the following: "In examining once more Mr Wallis's paper…". The discussion continues for a further 19 pages.
Worldcat records one copy at the Bodleian and nine in the US.

This series of pamphlets, privately printed by M.P.W. Boulton between 1863 and 1865, concern a dispute about the origins and invention of photography. Boulton was the grandson of another Matthew Boulton (1728-1809), one of the most important figures of the early Industrial Revolution. Boulton (senior) was a business part of the James Watt, who developed the steam engine and transformed mechanisation in British mills and factories. Boulton used the engine to power his Soho Mint in Birmingham and so revolutionised British coinage. Boulton was also a member of the Lunar Society (along with Watt, Erasmus Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood and Joseph Priestley) which met monthly to discuss and advance ideas in the sciences and the arts.
Among Boulton’s artistic and scientific experiments was the production, with Francis Eginton, of “mechanical paintings” or “polygraphs”. These were, essentially, a form of coloured “aquatint” engraving used by Eginton and Boulton in the production of coloured copies of paintings by, among others, the then enormously fashionable Angelica Kauffman. In 1863, in a paper given to the Photographic Society of London, F. P. Smith, of the Patent Museum in South Kensington, argued that some of these polygraphs were actually early photographs.
Smith's claims were based on documents and images found in the library of Soho House, the late Boulton's office and residence, outside Birmingham. In fact, these images were a hoax perpetrated by a charlatan and fraudster called Price. This claim was refuted (and Price’s fraud challenged) in these pamphlets written by Boulton’s grandson, M. P. W. Boulton. The works use much technical, artistic (with lithographs by Vincent Brooks) and historical information to tell this fascinating story and counter Smith’s arguments.
M[atthew]. P[iers]. W[att]. Boulton (1820-1894) was a polymath. He won prizes at Cambridge for Latin and Greek composition but he had inherited from his grandfather an interest in the sciences and engineering and, remarkably, composed a Latin poem with the title Vehicula vi vaporis impulsa, translated as "Vehicles driven by the power of steam". Later, Boulton carried out experiments in powered flight and invented the aileron. He was a member of the Metaphysical Society (1869-1880) to which many of the intellectual figures of the day belonged. Boulton was a brilliant but self-effacing figure who deserves to be better known. His obituary in the Times described him as “...a most gifted member of a gifted family, the inheritor of a large fortune, and highly cultured; but, being naturally a recluse, with no care for self-assertion, his wide knowledge and sterling qualities were known only to a few”.

 

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