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Museum reveals the world’s earliest pictures of pets clicked in the 1800s and it's truly a treasure

The National Science and Media Museum shared adorable and fun pictures of animals taken right from the 1830s and they're a mesmerizing sight.

Museum reveals the world’s earliest pictures of pets clicked in the 1800s and it's truly a treasure
Cover Image Source: National Science and Media Museum

Witnessing the world's evolution over the years is truly spectacular. There is so much advancement in each field that a glimpse of the past is enough to make us nostalgic. The National Science and Media Museum has shared a captivating collection of the very first animal images taken in the 1830s and 1840s. Each picture offers a unique story, detailing the reason behind it being photographed. Dubbed "The History of Photography through Pets," this collection features both edgy and adorable images that captivate the viewer.


Starting with a collection from the 1830s, the museum shared a copy of a photo-print of the head of a cat. Looking very much like a portrait, the picture was taken years ago as a part of one of the experiments by William Henry Fox Talbot. After successfully creating positive prints from a negative one, Talbot titled the process the “Calotype” process, coming from Greek word “Kalos” which means beauty.

The picture of the cat shared is a copy of the work of J. Burbank, who used to exhibit animal photos in Britain during the 1830s. It is thrilling to see how detailed yet simplistic the picture is. The next picture was that of a furry and adorable “Ms. Mary Mitford’s dog.” Seated presumably on a sofa, stretched in poise and cuteness, the picture was snapped in the 1840s. 


Although the image is blurry and lacks contrast, a closer inspection reveals the gently seated canine. The story reveals that Miss Mary Mitford, a then-renowned celebrity, visited one of the photo studios owned by Nicolaas Hennemann to have her portrait clicked. However, she got her paw pal with her and insisted he be snapped too.

The account also highlights skepticism about the pose, considering the challenge of a dog sitting still in an unfamiliar setting. However, the wonderful and obedient dog sat still for 4 minutes to get a good shot. The next picture was that of the “Daguerreotype.” This process was initiated by Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre in 1939. He used a silver plate and a camera which offered more clarity. 


The narrative also discloses that Daguerre proposed taking pictures for anyone wanting a keepsake of their beloved pets. This is what caused the little mixed breed to have his portrait clicked. However, the reason for the blurry face is said to be because the dog refused to sit still. The final image stands out as one of the most fascinating. It consisted of a healthy, chunky cat seated on a barrel beside a bottle of alcohol giving quite a display.

Titled “The Old Batchelor,” the entertaining image was used as a cabinet card to be passed around and shared. The image has a peculiar brown tint which is said to be the result of albumen from an egg that was used with a thin sheet of paper. This method claimed to procure sharp results for more detailing.


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