Story: Photography

Trying to make a daguerreotype, 1848 (1st of 2)

On 17 September 1848 Henry Chapman wrote from Wellington to his father in London, and noted Edward Eyre's failed attempt to take a daguerreotype of Eliza Grey, the wife of Governor George Grey, on the verandah of Government House in Wellington. This is the first surviving recorded instance of an attempt to make a daguerreotype in New Zealand. The relevant section of the letter reads:

On Wednesday Eyre who is an amateur Daguerreotypist took portraits of Mrs Grey black and unlike because they were taken under the verandah of Government house with insufficient light. When his aparatus is in order I shall try and get him to take one of Kate [Chapman's wife] to send you.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library, Chapman Family Papers
Reference: MS-Papers-0053-11C (no. 11, 17 September 1848)

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Peter Ireland, 'Photography - Early photography, 1840–1880s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 1 December 2023)

Story by Peter Ireland, published 22 Oct 2014