Henry Taunt was a prolific and innovative Victorian photographer, working mainly in and around Oxford. The River Thames was his favourite subject, and he captured its changing moods in thousands of glass plate negatives. He was an early pioneer of wet collodion photography. While indulging in his photography he also made detailed maps of the Thames for his guidebooks. In the 1870s he published A New Map of the River Thames. A chapter of this book entitled The Life and Times of Henry Taunt delves further into his background and accomplishments. There is a chapter explaining photography in the 19th century.
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Taunt's photographs present a picture of late Victorian Britain reflected in the nature of the river itself and its landscape, the bridges and other riverside buildings including its historic houses, and its role as a playground for Victorian oarsmen, fishermen, and outdoor lovers.
The authors selected 75 of Taunt's finest photographs, then followed in his footsteps to the same sites to record the same views with the latest digital technology. They have intermingled their photographs with the originals, together with a commentary based on Taunt's own guidebooks--each site is covered with a two page spread.
The journey begins at the rising of the Thames in the parish of Coates, winds its way to Cirencester, Kempsford, Lechlade, and continues along the upper Thames. It moves onward to Duxford ferry, Newbridge, Eynshamís bridge, Medley weir, and Oxford. Following Tauntís footsteps leads then to Nuneham, Abingdon, Streatly, and Goring's bridge. Pangbourne and Henley are included on the journey that eventually reaches Cliveden, Maidenhead, Windsor castle and Eton. Weybride, Hampton Court, Teddington, and Twickenham feature as does Richmond bridge and Putney. The authorsí footsteps end at the Houses of Parliament.
The result is a book evocative of a vanished world that also captures the contemporary beauty of the timeless landscape of the Thames.
Published: 16th October 2007
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
192 pages; 75 colour photographs include photos of Tauntís maps.