Hall Place discovers an Illuminated World through the photography of Arthur Boswell

By Ruth Hazard | 28 September 2012
© The Boswell Collection, Bexley Heritage Trust
Exhibition Preview: Illuminated World, Hall Place, Bexley, October 6 2012 – March 17 2013

Little is known about Arthur Boswell, the fascinating Victorian photographer whose works are the subject of Hall Place’s new exhibition.

It seems he took on a variety of professions, from historian to palmist, but his passion for visual arts led him to work as both as an amateur photographer and cinema projectionist.

The slides reveal that Boswell travelled overseas© The Boswell Collection, Bexley Heritage Trust
The Bexley town archives recently unearthed a staggering 14,000 glass slide picture lanterns captured by its former resident, taken and compiled throughout the course of his lifetime as a means of documenting the local area.

But the images also reveal the overseas trips Boswell made, the subjects of his pictures ranging from the plains of African to the fjords of Norway and cities across Italy.

As some of the earliest examples of amateur photography these pictures provide a glimpse of life in Victorian era, as well as the customs and cultures that Boswell was discovering abroad.

The exhibition also includes original items of apparatus that reveal the photographic techniques of the time.

“Little is known of many of the subjects shown in the pictures which makes them both captivating and mysterious," says Kirsty Macklen, who has been responsible for piecing the collection together.

"By definition photography was so different then, which makes for an interesting counterpoint to the pervasiveness of digital photography today.”

  • Open 10am-5pm. Admission £7/£5.

Follow Ruth Hazard on Twitter @RuthHazard.

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