Modern Times: Photography in Britain 1800–1850

A daguerrotype of a man sitting in an armchair holding a newspaper

Photographer unknown (England), 'Seated man holding a copy of the Illustrated London News', c. 1850. Hand-painted half-plate daguerreotype in green leather case. Private collection.


Modern Times: Photography in Britain 1800–1850

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 Friday 17 March 2023


  Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library

  Free, booking required

This lecture is now fully booked.

About the event

The announcement of photography’s invention in January 1839, first in Paris and then in London, introduced a new power into British life. This new power—derived from photography’s capacity to automatically capture the images created in a camera—was soon being used for every conceivable purpose. The two exhibitions curated by Geoffrey Batchen for the Bodleian Libraries focus on those uses by tracing the development and dissemination of photographic images within Britain during the medium’s first fifty years. By identifying the key themes addressed in the exhibitions, Batchen will show how photography intersected with all aspects of a nascent modernity, helping to make Britain the society it is today.


Geoffrey Batchen is the Professor of History of Art at the University of Oxford. His writing about art and photography has featured in numerous journals, books and exhibition catalogues, while his curated exhibitions have been shown in Brazil, Australia, the USA, The Netherlands, Iceland, Great Britain, Germany, Japan and New Zealand. Most recently, he has curated A New Power and Bright Sparks for the Bodleian Libraries.

 Booking information

Booking is required for this event. Once you have booked your place, the ticketing system will send you an automated confirmation.


Sir Victor Blank Lecture Theatre, Weston Library, Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG

 Wheelchair access

The Weston Library is wheelchair accessible.


The Bodleian Libraries Learning Programme is generously supported by The Helen Hamlyn Trust:

The Helen Hamlyn Trust logo


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