“THE WORKSHOP OF THE WORLD”
FRITH, Francis. Albumen print of the London Royal Exchange. [London: Francis Frith., 1870]. Vintage albumen print (measures 5-1/2 by 8 inches), small label tipped to mat below print with hand-lettered caption, matted and framed (entire piece measures 11 by 14 inches). $225.
Vintage albumen print by Francis Frith capturing the Royal Exchange and busy London streets crowded with horse-drawn carriages and elegant passers-by, handsomely matted and framed.
One of Victorian England's most renowned photographers was Francis Frith, whose vision placed him at the head of a generation that, "in the 40 years between 1839 and 1879… came to define a medium" (Greenough, et al., 33). Frith's reputation was established by his images of the Middle East and those of his native Great Britain—exemplified by this fascinating image that captures the Royal Exchange in London at a time when "Great Britain was 'the workshop of the world'; the leading edge of the industrial revolution; the only superpower" (Grossman, British Stock Market, 2). In 1860 Frith had "set up a photographic company in Reigate to record as many locations in Britain as he could… Frith & Co. became the largest photographic publisher in the world" (DNB).