Allan Collier, a Lancastrian-in-exile now living in Yeovil, Somerset, is currently researching into the history of photography in Somerset. His aim is to document and record all those professional photographers active in the historic County of Somerset between 1841 and 1939. The fruits of his research has been published in book form as an A-Z directory of photographers (similar to that compiled by Gillian Jones on Lancashire) with an accompanying data DVD. The book includes several appendices including geographical index, women photographers index, amateur index as well as non-resident professional photographers. The DVD contains additional biographical details on each photographer, culled from numerous historical sources including county and town trade directories, census returns, “London Gazette”, newspaper advertisements and death notices / obituaries and the National Probate Calendar. It also contains many examples of digitally scanned images of ambrotypes, cartes-de-visite, cabinet cards and postcards – all emanating from Somerset studios.The vast majority of these images (both front and back as appropriate) have never been previously published.
Allan burned much midnight oil in his determination to successfully uncover the back-story of Somerset’s first professional photographer – Thomas Clark Sharp (1806-1896). His career, and more than 500 other Somerset photographers, will be traceable through this unique book and DVD package that will appeal to photographic historians, family historians, local historians, social historians and typographic historians– plus those professionals working in local studies libraries,county record offices, heritage centres and museums. The book is now available on line.