Image: 58.5 x 72.5 cm (23 1/16 x 28 9/16 in.); Matted: 81.3 x 96.5 cm (32 x 38 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 2000.85
A distinguished photographer who received royal patronage, Vernon Heath traveled extensively throughout the British Isles documenting estates and landscapes on commission. This carefully composed scenic view, taken just above the Upper Lake of Three Lakes of Killarney in southwest Ireland, exemplifies the pioneering technique he developed in the early 1860s for enlarging 12x10-inch glass negatives. Made when contact printing was the norm, Heath’s carbon-printed enlargements showed no distortion and preserved the general artistic effect, which brought praise from the photographic press. Through his outstanding ability to manipulate wet collodion plates in the field, he excelled at controlling light and rendering aerial perspective. Indeed, Heath was highly acclaimed for the pictorial detail and faithful description of the picturesque scenes his Victorian audience so admired. By 1871 the carbon pigment process was his preferred method for printing. It produced a softening effect and greater gradation of tone in his photographs while rendering them impervious to fading caused by natural light.
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