Historic 1857 advertisement for Horne & Thornthwaite’s Photographic Establishment, a camera store (and more) in Victorian London
Check out this antique 1857 print advertisement for Horne & Thornthwaite’s Photographic Establishment, which was located at 121, 122, and 123 Newgate Street in London. This ad was printed in the April 1857 edition of The Liverpool and Manchester Photographic Journal, which was an early version of the British Journal of Photography, still published today.
The ad highlights “photographic apparatus, chemicals, lenses, etc.”
Horne & Thornthwaite sold portrait lenses, which they also manufactured based on research by Petzval, whose antique lenses are still highly regarded today. They sold landscape lenses which were “unrivalled for flatness of field, beauty of definition, and rapidity of action . . .”
The shop also sold albumenized paper, which was photographic paper that had the albumen coating pre-applied, but still needed the light sensitive chemistry applied by the photographer, and “Morocco Cases,” fancy cases for photographic prints. Learn more about albumen prints here.
It’s incredible to me to see a print ad for camera gear that contains no photographs, but this advertisement comes from a time before photos were used in ads.
The location of Horne & Thornthwaite’s Photographic Establishment can be seen in the Google Street View screen shot below. I’ll bet it still looks pretty much as it did in that era. They were at this location from 1844 – 1874.
History of Horne & Thornthwaite
Horne & Thornthwaite were long-term partners (along with a man named Wood in certain years), who made and sold all manner of cameras and optical devices. They made lenses, telescopes, spectacles, and microscopes. They were photographers. They published photo books. And, they had a Royal warrant as opticians to Queen Victoria.
According to the book, Nineteenth-Century Photography, (page 714) Horne & Thornthwaite were among the earliest retailers specializing in photographic equipment and supplies.
There’s a thorough, detailed, and heavily illustrated history of their business, (including many images of their various business locations), located at this page. Another brief history can be found here.
Wonderful photographs of one of their cameras can be seen here.
Thanks for reading.