Although he was born in Staffordshire, photographic pioneer,
Thomas Wedgwood spent five years, from
1800 to 1805, living at Eastbury House in Tarrant Gunville.
Regarded by many as ‘the
first photographer’, he was a member of the famous Stoke-on-Trent potteries
family, the Wedgwoods. Throughout his life he suffered from poor health which
is probably the reason he moved to the Dorset countryside.
He used paper and white leather coated with silver nitrate to
make his first images. However, he did not know how to ‘fix’ the images and they would continue to darken on exposure to
light. They could only be preserved if kept in darkness and he would show his
work to friends in the light of a candle.
Thomas Wedgwood suffered from a mysterious illness and spent
much of his lifetime searching for a cure. Sadly he died in 1805, aged just 34,
and his will is held by the National Archives in London. Another Dorset born
man, Henry Fox Talbot , who was born at Melbury, would take the development of
photography on further but that is another tale.
(Illustration: Thomas Wedgwood)