Gallery Title Cambridge Book & Print Gallery PBFA Logo

Albumen prints of Cambridge c. 1880


The 1860s saw the opening up of photography to the masses, an art form invented in the last years of the 1830s as the preserve of a few scientists and experts, and this expansion of the medium allowed the layman's involvement in the medium as never before.

These views of Cambridge focus primarily on the University's great mediaeval colleges untouched by the additions, renovations and accretions of the twentieth century, but also document the uncluttered nature of the city itself in the third quarter of the nineteenth century. Sprouting gargoyles vie for attention with gothic pinnacles, graceful bridges reflect themselves in the River Cam, and top-hatted gentlemen stroll through the snowy lanes of winter while labourers, messengers and apprentices confront the camera's gaze.

Albumen prints were the common currency for photography for over thirty years during the middle part of the nineteenth century. Egg albumen was used to coat the paper and this with the use of glass plate negatives results in the extraordinary range of tone and fine detail of the images. Albumen, more commonly known as egg white was mixed with sodium chloride and coated onto the paper. The Albumen paper was then coated with silver nitrate, immediately before printing to give the finished print a glossy surface, which appealed more to nineteenth century taste than the matt surfaces of other processes.

all c. 1880, albumen prints, within mounts, average size 19 x 27 cm., some titled and dated below the image, each £35-£50, please enquire.


Caius College


Caius College, corner of King's Parade
Albumen print
c. 1880
(within mount)


St. John's College


St. John's College
Albumen print
c. 1880
(within mount)

Queen's Bridge



Queen's Bridge
Albumen print
c. 1880
(within mount)


Christ's College Gatehouse


Christ's College Gatehouse
Albumen print
c. 1880
(within mount)


University Church, Cambridge


University Church, Cambridge
Albumen print
c. 1880
(within mount)


Caius College. Gate of Honour


Caius College, Gate of Honour
Albumen print
c. 1880
(within mount)



Trinity Bridge


Trinity Bridge
Albumen print
c. 1880
(within mount)

Caius College


Caius College
Albumen print
c. 1880
(within mount)


Christ's College Gatehouse


Christ's College Gatehouse
Albumen print
c. 1880
(within mount)


Caius College, Gate of Honour


Caius College, Gate of Honour
Albumen print
c. 1880
(within mount)

2001-2012 Cambridge Book & Print Gallery