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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

–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

- 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

, Robert, 8, 18, 28–29, 101, 124, 191n30; air pump experiments, 31–32; corpus- cularian chemistry, influence of, 31, 199n34; fermentation theory, 31; salt- peter, use of, 31–33 Brandt, Henning, 65 Brewster, David, 150 Bristol (England), 9, 17 Britain, 5, 7, 9, 15, 17, 19–20, 47, 57, 59, 62, 65, 78, 87, 101, 107, 136–37, 173, 181, 198n13; painting, uncertainty of in, 77; public culture of chemistry, 196n78. See also England; Scotland British Association for the Advancement of Science, 172 British Enlightenment, 14, 17, 19–20, 22–23, 28, 87, 135–36, 164–65, 179

of mod- ernization, agency of both enlightenment and alienation, instru- ment of both civilizational progress and the deadening uniformity THIS MODERN ART ChaPter Four 98 · c h A p t e r f o u r of a machine age, photography is in the curious position of being an inexpensive medium having very high stakes. This also is the point at which the emerging discourse on photog- raphy has both the greatest continuity with and a distinctive break from the older paradigm. The great achievement of Susan Sontag’s generation was to lift discussion of photography above