Wikipedia entry
Benjamin Brecknell Turner (1815–1894) was one of Britain's first photographers and a founding-member of the Photographic Society of London which was formed in 1853. His images were based on the traditionally 'picturesque' styles and subjects of the generation of watercolour painters before him. Born in London, Turner was the eldest son in a family of eight children. The family lived above the family tallow-chandlers business where candles and saddle-soaps were made and sold. At sixteen Benjamin became an apprentice to his father. He joined the Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers in 1837 and became a Freeman of the City of London in 1838. On 17 August 1847, he married Agnes Chamberlain, a member of the Worcester China family. In 1849 Turner took out a licence to practice paper negative (Calotype or Talbotype) photography from its inventor, William Henry Fox Talbot. He quickly mastered this form of photography and went on to produce many images during the 1850s, taking part in many photographic exhibitions during this time. He joined the Photographic Society, later the Royal Photographic Society, and was recorded as a member from 1854, although it is likely he joined in 1853 and remained a member until at least 1893, albeit with a break in membership between c.1871, rejoining in 1883. Brecknell's personal album from the Photographic Club, a grouping of members of the Photographic Society, is held in the Royal Photographic Society Collection at the National Media Museum.Between 1852 and 1854 Turner compiled 60 of his own photographs in what is believed to be a unique album, 'Photographic Views from Nature'. It might have been a sample book, a convenient method for presenting photographs for personal pleasure, and for showing to colleagues or potential exhibitors. It remained in the Turner family until it was bought by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Almost a third of the photographs in Turner's album are of scenes in the West Midlands county of Worcestershire. The village of Bredicot was the home of Turner's father-in-law, who had purchased Bredicot Court when he retired from the business of porcelain manufacture, a trade that had made him wealthy. From the mid-1850s he worked in a 'glass house studio' above his London business premises. He made many portraits here although he seems never to have exhibited them. Although Turner is mainly known for his rural and architectural images he did also take portraits using his family and business as subjects. For these images he often used glass negatives as these had short exposure times allowing a high level of detail.
Information from Wikipedia, made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
Getty record
Turner officially took up photography in 1849 using Talbot's calotype process. In 1854 he photographed the transfer of the Crystal Palace from central London to Sydenham Hill. He also photographed the churches of Canterbury. Turner photographed the English countryside using a large format camera throughout the 1850s. According to Borcoman, Turner supposedly stopped photographing in 1862. He was a founding member of the London Photographic Society in 1854.
British, English
Artist, Painter, Photographer
Benjamin Brecknell Turner, Benjamin Bracknell Turner, Benjamin Brecknall Turner
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].