Benjamin Brecknell Turner

Prints & Drawings Study Room

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One of the earliest British amateur photographers, Benjamin Brecknell Turner was experimenting with photography barely ten years after the invention of the medium. He exhibited widely during his lifetime and is best known for his beautiful photographs of 19th-century England, picturesque ruins and rural scenes.

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A founder member of the Photographic Society of London, Turner contributed to the rapid technical and aesthetic development of photography in the 1850s. Our collection includes a unique album compiled by Turner, 'Photographic Views from Nature', containing some of the earliest photographs made in and around the counties of Worcestershire, Surrey, Sussex, Kent and Yorkshire, alongside the radical modern architecture of the Crystal Palace in London's Hyde Park.

Collection Highlights

Photograph taken inside the Crystal Palace transept, showing a tree and the empty structure of the building.
Crystal Palace transept, Hyde Park, photograph by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, 1852, England
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Portrait of the photographer's wife Agnes Turner with her brother Humphrey Chamberlain, albumen print from glass negative, by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, about 1850, England
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Old Doorway, Pershore Abbey, photograph, albumen print from calotype negative, by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, 19th century, England
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Hedgerow Trees, Clerkenleap, Worcestershire, photograph, albumen print from calotype negative, by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, 1852 – 1854, England
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Ludlow, photograph, albumen print from calotype negative, by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, 1852 – 1854, England
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Lynmouth, North Devon, photograph, albumen print from calotype negative, by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, 1852 – 1854, England
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Lyndale, North Devon, photograph, albumen print from calotype negative, by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, 1852, England
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Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire, from the North East, photograph, albumen print from calotype negative, by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, 1852 – 1854, England
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Windmill, Kempsey, Worcestershire, photograph, albumen print from calotype negative, by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, 1852 – 1854, England
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Bredicot Church, photograph, calotype negative, by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, about 1850, England
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Three Fishermen, photograph, calotype negative, by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, about 1849, England
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Agnes Chamberlain at the Window, Bredicot Court, photograph, albumen print from a calotype negative, by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, about 1854, England

Features

Background image: Hedgerow trees, Clerkenleap, photograph by Benjamin Brecknell Turner, 19th century, England. Museum no. PH.15-1982. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London