Detail map of Eton, Windsor, England, United Kingdom Overview map of Eton, Windsor, England, United Kingdom

A: Eton, Windsor, England, United Kingdom

Alexander Kennedy Issues the First Book on Birds Illustrated with Actual Photographs


In 1868 Alexander W. M. Clark Kennedy, who characterized himself as "An Eton Boy" issued from Eton and London The Birds of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire: A Contribution to the Natural History of the Two Counties. The book was illustrated with 4 hand-tined albumin prints of birds, photographed in taxidermic settings— the first photographic illustrations of birds. At the time it was impossible to photograph any animal in motion because of the lack of telephoto lenses and sufficiently light-sensitive plates to allow short exposures. In 1885 Eadweard Muybridge would publish the first photographs of birds in flight in his Animal Locomotion.

Eton was a very unusual location for the publication of a book in England, and this volume was undoubtedly paid for by the author, or his family. Clark Kennedy (1851-94) would have been only 17 at the time of publication. My copy was inscribed by Clark Kennedy to the amateur ornithologist Harry Blake Knox, a large landowner in Ireland the year after its publication, January, 1869.

Goldschmidt & Naef, The Truthful Lens (1980) No. 96.

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