James Coventry was a member of the Fordingbridge gentry, living at Burgate House on the edge of the New Forest (Hampshire, southern England). He was a gifted amateur photographer, active in the 1890s and early 1900s.
by Anthony Light
and Gerald Ponting
ISBN 0 9512310 9 X
A4, 96 pages,
On special offer at £7.95
Over 270 of James Coventry’s original quarter plate glass negatives are preserved in the Hampshire Records Office and several of his photo albums are in private hands. The pictures are evocative of a time of horse-drawn carriages and sailing ships, and feature not only the gentry and great houses, but also the life of the rural cottagers. While James’s photographic expeditions inevitably centred around his home district, they also ranged west to Weymouth, Dorset; east to Shoreham, Sussex; north to Salisbury and Stonehenge; and south to the Isle of Wight.
Our book, James Coventry - Gentleman Photographer features 170 of his superb photographs. It also outlines some of his family history and sets his photography in the context of the period. Intriguingly, James had, as a young man, been a member of the Pontifical Zouaves - the web proved an effective research tool for learning about this obscure organisation.
The camera which James used was a quarter-plate Lancaster Instantograph, a construction of mahogany, brass and leather. Rob Niederman of Minnesota, U.S.A. has a photograph of such a camera, from his own collection, displayed on his web-site.
A small exhibition of James’s work is available for display in suitable museums etc.
I have also prepared a slide presentation with the same title - very popular with historical and photographic societies. This differs from the book in that, by using my twin-screen technique, each of James’ original photographs is accompanied by my colour slide of the view as it appears today.