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About Francis Bedford

Francis Bedford (1816 to 1894) was the son of the prominent architect Francis Octavius Bedford, an influential figure in the Greek Revivalist movement of the early 19th century. He began his career as a draughtsman and lithographer and illustrated a series of books on architecture. The types of composition used in his drawings and lithographs became models for the photographs he was to make in later life.

Bedford took up photography in the early 1850s. He became well-known as one of the best English landscape photographers of the wet-plate period, his background in commercial art providing invaluable insights into the marketing of images and the tastes of the public. Bedford worked extensively in the south-west of England, the West Midlands and in Wales.

His work was highly acclaimed during his lifetime. More recently, the photo-historian, Graham Ovendon, has suggested that ‘Bedford’s photographs illustrate what is perhaps one of the most important qualities in Pre-Raphaelite art, the harmonious existence of the natural and the human world.

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