One of the earliest photographs in this exhibition, James Valentine’s Royal Stag possesses a rare spontaneity, both for photographs of this period and for still-life images in general. In photographing a royal stag (one with antlers of twelve or more branches), Valentine gave the animal the appearance of one that had just fallen in the bright light of midday. Because the technology of the day required a nearby darkroom where the exposed negative plate could be processed immediately, it is likely that the felled stag was arranged into its artistic pose by the photographer or his staff. Valentine was a distinguished topographical and landscape photographer, printer, and publisher whose Dundee-based company became the largest and best equipped in the United Kingdom. His accomplishments were recognized when in 1868 he was appointed Photographer to the Queen.
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