Joseph Cundall and Robert Howlett (English, 1818-1895 & 1830-1858)
"Crimean Braves" Nunn, Potter and Deal, Coldstream Guards, Aldershot Garrison,
Photogalvanograph proof on laid India paper, 24.6 x 19.9 cm
During the Crimean War, the mismanagement and suffering of the common troops was terrible beyond belief. In spite of the good works of Florence Nightingale and the emergence of improvements, Britain knew it had failed its soldiers, and it was only upon their return in 1856 that the "Crimean Heroes" and "Crimean Braves" began to gain the recognition they deserved. Queen Victoria commissioned Cundall & Howlett to make candid portraits of the common soldier. Howlett chose to work in the field, setting up temporary studios at the dockyards and hospitals. Cundall worked from their studio in central London. The lighting is clear, the focus sharp and Cundall's vision is so direct as to avoid any sentimentality. This image was one of four exhibited in the 1857 Photographic Society of London's annual exhibition, labeled as "taken by command of Her Majesty." Incorrectly credited to Roger Fenton in the 1857 exhibition, Cundall's image is rendered in an experimental process, a "Proof" print using the photogalvanograph, devised by Paul Pretsch (1808-1873), Austrian photographer and inventor and former Manager of the Imperial Printing Establishment in Vienna. Starting in late 1856, they (Cundall and Roger Fenton, an investor and partner) published at their The Patent Photo-Galvanographic Company in the Holloway Road, Islington, London, a serial portfolio, Photographic Art Treasures, or Nature and Art Illustrated by Art and Nature, illustrated with photogalvanographs derived from several photographer's works. After a short production run the company folded.