Sunshine And Shower Sutcliffe, Frank Meadow  (British, 1856-1937)

"the distribution of the light into one major light with its two minor lights joined by numerous broken half lights could not be excelled by the most subtle craft of the painter; nor do I think that, as a matter of composition, any artifice would add to its beauty… I have a particular interest in this photograph, for I happened to be passing at the time Mr. Sutcliffe was taking it, and one of the most charming effects of it is one which, so far as my knowledge goes, no painter has ever attempted to paint, nor do I think that until Mr. Sutcliffe took this photograph any painter would have dared to attempt to paint it, and yet it is a very beautiful effect, I refer to the fact that owing to the shower the direct rays of the sun behind the topsail of the schooner were refracted by the particles of moisture right through the sail, and so we have a point of semi-transparence on an opaque object against the light. To have a scientific indisputable record of such a beautiful effect as this is of inestimable value to the Art World, for, as photography has established the existence of the effect beyond cavil, no artist would hesitate to use it if it would add to the beauty of his picture." From the descriptive text by Charles Noel Armfield

Sun Artist was the first publication in England to represent ‘the artistic position of photography’. The Journal is a significant example of photogravure in the history of the photographically illustrated book. Sun Artists was published in eight parts between October 1889 and July 1891. Each Issue was devoted to the work of a single British photographer, illustrated by four hand-pulled photogravures, together with an introductory descriptive essay. Particular care was taken by the publisher of Sun Artists to identify the individuals who prepared the photogravures for publication, all leading exponents of photogravure at the time. Mr Dawson of the Typographic Etching Company, himself an acclaimed photographer, made the etchings for Issue 1. Mr Cameron Swan of Messrs Annan and Swan made those for Issues 2, 3, and 4 while the etchings for Issues 5-8 were made by Mr W.L. Colls. (Hannavy V2)

These exceptional issues highlight those men and women who best express the period’s rich Pictorialist dialogue between painting and photography, the rise of the Secession Movement, and a turning point "in the ways photographs were made for the pages of books" (Truthful Lens, 41) – namely in the photogravure process of "printing photographs from an etched copper plate" -as seen in these 32 superb hand-pulled gravures (Harker, 168).

The photographers included are: J. Gale (essay by (George Davison); H.P. Robinson (essay by Andrew Pringle); J.B.B. Wellington (essay by Graham Balfour); Lydell Sawyer (essay by Rev. F.C. Lambert); Julia M. Cameron (essay by P.H. Emerson); B. Gay Wilkinson (essay by Rev. F.C. Lambert); F.W.H. Myers (essay by John Addington Symonds); and Frank Sutcliffe (essay by Charles N. Armfield). Sun Artists was issued in two states, a regular edition and an edition of 100 numbered copies on India proof paper, with the photogravures signed in pencil by the artists, with the exception of Julia Margaret Cameron who had already died.

References

McCaully – History of Photography "Writing Photography’s History before Newhall " v 21 n 2 1997

Harker, Margaret. The Linked Ring: the Secession Movement in Photography in Britain, 1892-1910. London: Heinemann, 1979. Print.

Hannavy John. 2008. Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography. New York NY: Routledge.

Gernsheim, Helmut. The History of Photography: The Age of Collodion. London: Thames and Hudson, 1989. p.44

Goldschmidt Lucien Weston J Naef and Grolier Club. 1980. The Truthful Lens : A Survey of the Photographically Illustrated Book 1844-1914. 1st ed. New York: Grolier Club

Weaver, Mike. British Photography in the Nineteenth Century: The Fine Art Tradition. Cambridge [United States: University Press, 1989. p. 157-8