Lot 19 of 377:
Woodburytypes of Cornish mines 1893  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$360
$600 - $900

'Mongst Mines and Miners; or Underground Scenes by Flash-Light: A Series of Photographs with Explanatory Letterpress, Illustrating Methods of Working in Cornish Mines

Burrow, J.C. & William Thomas


Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., Ltd.



With silver gelatin print frontispiece of the chief mining district of Cornwall, and 26 woodburytypes of miners, all with tissue guards; folding color plan of the mines. (Folio) 31.7x24.6 cm (12¼x9¼"), red cloth with gilt lettering.

The book includes texts by J.C. Burrow on mine photography and William Thomas describing the activities and locations seen in these photographs. The well conceived Woodburytypes graphically depict the risky and unpleasant conditions of the mines. The miners are seen at work: breaking rocks with hand-picks and sledges, loading small hand rail carts, laying timbers, and using pneumatic rock-drills to expose the ore.

"J. C. Burrow was the master of that dirty and dangerous occupation, the photographing of deep metal mines." - Imagining Paradise, page 94. The challenges he faced are conveyed by the photographs as well as his own text. Burrow described his invention in underground lighting - mixing magnesium lamps and lime-light burners to illuminate the deep shadows of the mines. He had many obstacles to overcome: the high temperatures in the deep mines and the endless condensation and dripping water, affecting cameras, lenses, and lighting. There was the ever present dirt and dust, making it almost impossible to keep glass plates and lenses clean. The tripod, when used, was unsteady on the rocky surfaces and the camera often had to be attached to ladders or beams to photograph down shafts or at odd angles. Yet Burrow managed to make remarkably clear and crisp photographs that dramatized the peril and drudgery of mining.

Lot Amendments

Just a bit of rubbing to spine ends and corners, light foxing to half-title; fine or nearly so.

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