View Full Version : Howlett camera

David White
10-18-2006, 02:47 PM
Hello one and all,

I thought I would drop you a line to tell you about an exhibition of images (and camera) which I shot for the bi centenary of Brunel's birth. I posted some questions on these boards quite a while back asking how to recreate the camera that Robert Howlett used in 1857 to take his famous image of Brunel. With help from yourselves and others the camera was made for me by Ivan Rose of Cheltenham, who is a master craftsman. The camera was mated to an 18 3/4"f4 lens from 1855 supposedly. Howlett's plate dimensions measured up nearly perfectly to 10x12" so two 19th century
dds in that size were found and built into the rear sliding box of the camera. I then used the camera to photograph 20 or so Brunellian landmarks still standing around the country, from Clifton suspension bridge to Paddington station etc. I used old formula papers and chemicals from retro photographic to dev the film and produce the contacts.These were then sepia toned for longevity. I was initially keen on using albumen paper and collodion processes etc etc but I only had a limited budget and time scale. The images are being exhibited as I write at Plymouth museum and art gallery..which has a small link to the project:http://tinyurl.com/sd6wh.
Free entry, and the camera is there too for you to have a look at.
There is more info about the project and a full set of images at my site, www.nospin.co.uk, under features.

I would like to thank you all again for your breadth of knowledge and help..I don't think I could have succeeded without the wealth of information on here.
Here's an example for you: Maidenhead's sounding arch bridge, 15 minute exposure, trains going across the bridge and rowers and cox underneath, all light provided by million candle power torch.
Thanks again,
David White

10-18-2006, 09:01 PM
As a structural engineer, LF photographer, preservationist, part-time camera maker, I say . . . bravo.

Show us more. Show us more. And show us the camera.

10-18-2006, 09:16 PM
Looks like a great project, David. I'd love to see more. Thanks for sharing.

David White
10-19-2006, 03:11 AM
Here's the camera and lens:

For those that are interested there are many more pics from the camera on
my site , www.nospin.co.uk.

Best to all,

David White
10-19-2006, 03:18 AM
One of my favourites, taken at the site of Brunel's atmospheric railway:


10-19-2006, 10:36 AM
She's a beaut'. The woodwork looks first-rate and that's a heck of a brass cannon hanging on it.

P C Headland
10-20-2006, 10:08 PM
Looks like you'd need a permit for a lens that size ;)

Nice series and nice looking camera.