J. Dudley Johnston, elected to the Linked Ring in 1907, was twice President of the Royal Photographic Society where he played a key role in starting the Society’s permanent collection. Johnston became one of the earliest photographic historians and his awareness of the history of the emergence of photography doubtless inﬂuenced his own photographic work. Margret Hawker in her book The Linked Ring considered Johnston a leading Secessionist.
Most of Johnston’s work is to be found in the collection of the Royal Photographic Society, now at the V&A in London. It is rare to ﬁnd examples on the market. This photogravure from one of his most well-known images is from the estate of Margaret Harker. It is notated on its verso ‘No.1 – the first photograph in the Harker collection’. Harker, like Johnston, had a long association with the Royal Photographic Society and, from 1958 to 1960, served as its first female president. As well, Harker was the first female professor of photography in the UK. A distinguished photographic historian, she was instrumental in the development of photographic education.
Johnston was friends with Alvin Langdon Coburn. Although fourteen years older than Coburn, Johnston became something of a protege, which perhaps explains Johnston’s decision to print this image, his most famous, as a photogravure.
Harker, Margaret F. Victorian and Edwardian Photographs. London: Charles Letts Books Limited, 1982. no. 41.
Johnston, J D. Pictorial Photography, 1905-1940. London: Pictorial Group of the Royal Photographic Society, 1952. cover, p. 12, no. 11.