DELAMOTTE, Philip Henry

b. 1820; d. 1889

Philip Delamotte was a calotype photographer, and one of the first to use photography for documentary purposes.

In 1851 the Great Exhibition took place in Hyde Park, London. So successful was it that when it closed, some entrepreneurs bought a large site in Sydenham, near London, and arranged for the entire Crystal Palace, the main attraction, to be dismantled and re-erected at this new site.

They also decided to hire a photographer to document the event, and commissioned Delamotte, who produced a painstaking and meticulous record of this interesting building. The Crystal Palace was opened on 10 June 1854. The following year Delamotte published his two volume work entitled "Photographic Views of the Progress of the Crystal Palace, Sydenham", containing 160 architectural photographs.

The publisher Delamotte used was Joseph Cundall, and it was at his house that one of the first commercial photographic exhibitions took place, with some 350 photographs available for sale.

Together with Roger Fenton he founded the Calotype Club in London. He taught drawing to members of the Royal Family, and later he was appointed Professor of Drawing at King's College, London.

Delamotte also wrote a book entitled "The practice of photography: a manual for students" - a work which went into its third edition.

© Robert Leggat, 1999.