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Sunset at Davos Roome, H.A.  (British, 1857-1935)

The English amateur photographer Henry Abercrombie Roome (1857-1935) was born in Bombay, son of Dr. Henry Roome of Parkhurst, Isle of Wight. After attending Epson College in Surrey from 1871-1874, he went on to Edinburgh University for his medical education, and in 1879 was appointed house surgeon to the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford. In the early 1880’s, Roome had become interested in photography, and by 1884 was a member of the Postal Photographic Society and exhibiting work as a member of the Royal Photographic Society in their salons. His views of Lake Como, Venice, and a study of a elderly Italian peasant woman exhibited as platinum prints in the 1886 RPS annual were later included with views taken in Switzerland and other locales for his 1892 compilation folio Sunshine & Shadow. Published in London by Sampson Low, Marston and Company, the work features 19 plates produced as hand-pulled photogravures by English copperplate engraver and future Linked Ring Brotherhood member Walter Colls.

The Prefatory Note to the volume signed by Roome states:

I publish this book as a handy souvenir for my friends of pictures which have had the good fortune, when printed in platinotype, to give them pleasure in the past.
I entrusted my plates to the hands of Mr. Walter L. Colls, of Barnes, who has reproduced them by the photo-etching process. I tender him my hearty thanks for the careful and able manner in which he has performed his task.

As it turns out, Colls had already exhibited negatives made by Roome as photo-etchings (hand-pulled photogravures) several years earlier in the 1890 annual RPS exhibition, along with two plates by English photographer Julia Margaret Cameron that would soon be reproduced in the English folio series Sun Artists a year later.

Roome’s photographic vision preserved in the form of this volume, accompanied by poetic verse from well-known English authors including Lord Byron, Lewis Morris, George Eliot, William Wordsworth as well as others, was dedicated to his wife. The first plate in the pagination, a portrait titled Mother and Child, (unidentified subjects) includes two Lord Byron poems, and he provides the following dedication:

I Dedicate These Reminiscences of Days
Made Happy to Me
Her Companionship.

Henry Roome returned to England at an unknown date and settled in the London suburb of East Sheen, where he died on September 13, 1935.


David Spencer/Photoseed accessed 10/09/22