Henry Peach Robinson
(From Wikipedia, the
Robinson (born July 9, 1830 in Ludlow, Shropshire - died February 21,
1901) was an English Pictorialist photographer best known for his
pioneering of combination printing - joining multiple negatives to form a
single image, the precursor to photomontage. According to his letters, he
was influenced by the paintings of J.M.W. Turner.
Robinson was the eldest of the four children of John Robinson, a Ludlow
schoolmaster, and his wife Eliza. He was educated at Horatio Russell's
academy in Ludlow until he was thirteen, when he took a year's drawing
tuition with Richard Penwarne before being apprenticed to a Ludlow
bookseller and printer, Richard Jones.
While continuing to study art, his initial career was in bookselling, in
1850 working for the Bromsgrove bookseller Benjamin Maund, then in 1851
for the London-based Whittaker & Co. In 1852 he exhibited an oil painting,
On the Teme Near Ludlow, at the Royal Academy. That same year he began
taking photographs, and five years later, following a meeting with the
photographer Hugh Welch Diamond, decided to devote himself to that medium,
in 1855 opening a studio in Leamington Spa, selling portraits.
In 1859 he married Selina Grieves, daughter of a Ludlow chemist, John
In 1864, at the age of thirty-four, Robinson was forced to give up his
studio due to ill-health from exposure to toxic photographic chemicals.
Relocating to London, Robinson kept up his involvement with the
theroetical side of photography, writing the influential essay Pictorial
Effect in Photography, Being Hints on Composition and Chiaroscuro for
Photographers, published in 1868. Around this time his health had improved
sufficiently to open a new studio in Tunbridge Wells with Nelson King
Cherrill, and in 1870 he become vice-president of the Photographic
The partnership with Cherrill dissolved in 1875, Robinson continuing the
business until his retirement in 1888. Following internal disputes within
the Photographic Society, he resigned in 1891 to become one of the early
members of the rival Linked Ring society, in which he was active until
1900, when he was also elected an honorary member of the Royal
He died and was buried in Tunbridge Wells in early 1901.