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131 4 Space, Time, and Chemistry Making Enlightenment “Photography” in the 1860s By boat and by the banks of the River Thames, Joseph Mallord William Turner watched the Palace of Westminster burn through the night of Octo- ber 16, 1834. Turner (1775–1851) made numerous sketches and, later, two oil paintings of the destructive spectacle. Flames explode in scintillating fire- works from the combusting palace at left in Turner’s first exhibited oil ver- sion, a picture both shown and partially made in the gallery of the British Institution in February 1835

Sir Joshua Reynolds, Photography, and the Temporally Evolving Chemical Object
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v CONTENTS Introduction: Slow- Motion Mobiles 1 1 “Pictures . . . in time petrify’d” 25 2 Joshua Reynolds’s “Nice Chymistry” in the 1770s 43 3 “Rend’rd Imortal”: The Work of Art in an Age of Chemical Reproduction 89 4 Space, Time, and Chemistry: Making Enlightenment “Photography” in the 1860s 131 Conclusion: Art History in/as an Age of Combustion 179 Acknowledgments 185 Notes 189 Bibliography 241 Index 265

copyists, and on to Reynolds him- self? Resisting talk of antipathy between Reynolds’s “smooth cosmopolitan certainties, secured by the rules of international neo- classicism,” and the embrace of science typically assigned to progressive intellectual circles in Britain’s rising, industrializing provinces, how might those chemo- material supports allow us to map anew the territory of Enlightenment painting, photography, and larger stories about the Industrial Revolution?25 And if we’re determined to follow the chemicals rather than force of habit, where could such

Exhibition at the Royal Academy, Spring Gardens, and Mr. Christie’s by the Author of the Remarks on the English Language. Lon- don: Printed for John Bell, 1771. Barker, Elizabeth E., and Alex Kidson. Joseph Wright of Derby in Liverpool. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007. Barnes, Alan. “Coleridge, Tom Wedgwood and the Relationship between Time and Space in Midlands Enlightenment Thought.” Journal for Eighteenth- Century Studies 30, no. 2 (2007): 243–60. ———. “Negative and Positive Images: Erasmus Darwin, Tom Wedgwood and the Ori- gin of Photography.” In The

the camera keeps them honest. (These are both, of course, highly debatable proposi- tions.) But both films invoke this figure only to bring him low— to demon- strate the immorality of objectivity and to provide the audience with an identification figure we can follow along the path to political enlightenment. I can’t see any essential difference in methodology between Boat People and Under Fire, but still, Under Fire was praised to the skies by many of the same critics who dismissed Boat People out of hand. I think Hui, in a strange way, has been punished for

–21; Anna Marie Roos, “The Saline Chymistry of Color in Seventeenth- Century English Natural History,” Early Science and Medicine 20 (2015): 562–88; Hunter, Wicked Intelligence; and Carol Gibson- Wood, Jonathan Richardson: Art Theorist of the English Enlightenment (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000). 37. Hanson, English Virtuoso, 3. 38. M. A. R. Cooper, “Robert Hooke (1635–1703): Proto- Photogrammetrist,” Photo- grammetric Record 15, no. 87 (1996): 411; Edward Eigen, “On Purple and the Genesis of Photography or the Natural History of an Exposure,” in Ocean

humanity’s impact on the global climate. The “Anthropocene,” as Crutzen helped dub this new era, was inseparable from the British Enlightenment examined in this book. Noting how anomalous chemical indicators “coincide with James Watt’s de- sign of the steam engine,” Crutzen found convenient provenance for the epoch: “The Anthropocene could be said to have started in the latter part of the eighteenth century.”1 Subsequent research has shifted and complicated the chronology.2 In- vestigators have unearthed evidence of far earlier anthropogenic changes— evolutions

commenting as well. Anthropologists turned their observational technique on American culture, and sociologists sought to use media to understand the group dynamics of wartime and postwar society. Other academics, brandishing the tools of what was emerging as “mass communication research,” tried to sample and mea- sure the collective delusions promoted on the radio or the movie screen. Émigrés associated with the Frankfurt School merged these strategies with large doses of post- Hegelian philosophy. Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944) proposed

- tant catalyst in the subsequent form and fabric of British picture- making (see plate 8). Known to and imaginatively replayed by Enlightenment- era makers, Restoration- era phosphorus research opens a history of temporally evolving chemical objects, as it were, before the era of British art.13 To enter that story, this chapter uses three operatives and a counter- point. Meet the agents: Thomas Willis (1621–1675), Royalist physician and anatomist; Robert Boyle (1627–1691), chymist and natural philosopher, as well as one of the wealthiest men in Europe; and Robert