Loose leaf. 50 cyanotypes (9 1/2 x 11"/ 11 x 9 1/2"), numbered 1 through 50, with white cardboard mats (12 x 16). Housed in a handmade box of modern blue linen cloth over marbled paper boards with black lettering on labels on cover and spine. Containing the original gilt lettered label loosely laid in. Complete set as issued.
'From 1881, and possibly earlier he [Bedford Lemere] produced a printed catalogue of available photographs, with annual supplements thereafter. Individual photographs could be ordered from these catalogues, while for customers who needed illustrations of particular themes, separate lists were available of photographs selected from the existing stock to meet their needs. In 1881 these specialized lists included 'Old-Half timbered and Stone Mansion' and 'Old and modern Queen Anne Residences, Schools etc.' and over the next 20 years many more selections would be available including 'Town and Country Houses and Mercantile Buildings', 'England's Homes: Blenheim, Hatfield, Haddon, Hardwicke [sic] etc.' and several series of furniture and woodwork' (Nicholas Cooper, The Photography of Bedford Lemere & Co. (Swindon, English Heritage, 2011, p.15).'
This set was presumably produced for the French speaking market with all images in this set identified on a list provided with this collection. The images present almost exclusively country house interiors focusing on the main rooms of the house, staircases, paneling, etc.
Making cyanotype copy prints, from a series of reference or 'master' prints to compile a catalogue would have been an economic solution to providing images though the ease of production method reduced the apparent intrinsic value as images as the blue coloring was considered to be inferior to the sharpness of the original albumen prints. However, such trade publications rarely appear and this collection is a superb example of a photographic trade item from which the specialist purchaser or the public could select images they required. The images then would be printed as albumen prints providing architectural source material. According to Cooper, in 1881, standard albums of 50 or 60 images from the Royal Architectural Museum were available and another album of St. Pancras, containing 20 images, could be purchased. This set of images is a rare example for commercial architectural photography emerging in the late 19th century. Architectural photography was booming at this time, providing a practical, inexpensive way for the client to choose and mix preferences. The known collections of this kind often contained a combination of images as presented here alongside those collected on tours of Europe showing architectural monuments, details and settings of building for urban centers such as Venice, Florence and Rome.
No text, except for penciled captions on plates 25, 28, 35 and 37, and complete descriptive list of of images presented here. plate 37 with 4,5 x 4,5 x 6,5" triangular bend in lower left corner affecting one inch of the image. Mat of plate one with some foxing not affecting image, and mats lightly rubbed. Images in fine condition. vg to fine. Item #46692
Manchester University Special Collections holds a set of these rare copies with 50 images.
Another set of these images comprising 86 prints was issued. Worldcat lists one those sets of "Intérieurs Anglais" at the Stiftung Bibliothek Werner Oechslin, Switzerland, complete, and at the Getty Research Institute with 82 of 86 cyanotypes, lacking nos. 10, 65, 67 and 81. The Royal Institute of British Architects holds eight photographs from this series, see http:/www.ribapix.com, items RIBA7372–RIBA7379.
Historic England Archive holds the largest amount of Bedford Lemere & Co. surviving photographs: 21,8000 large-format glass negatives and 3,000 unique prints, comprising one quarter of the firm's estimated total output of 100,000 images.