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probably made in Paris

Postcard of Camera.
© National Museums Scotland


Alexis Gaudin of Paris designed this cylindrical-bodied camera in 1841, which was made commercially by the instrument maker N.M.P. Lerebours (1801-1873). It used the single-image daguerreotype process, which produced reversed photographs on metal.

This example has been adapted to take small rectangular images, and is fitted into a wooden box, fitted with compartments for chemicals, which gives it the external appearance of a wooden box camera. The achromatic lens was fitted with a rotating disc, which had three apertures for different exposures: the largest gave soft definition, and was recommended for taking portraits of plain people!

The daguerreotype process, named after its inventor, Louis Daguerre (1789-1851), produced a single unique reversed image, with a delicate surface which had to be protected by a cover glass against abrasion, and sealed to prevent tarnishing through contact with the air. Although the process proved to be a cul-de-sac, it was taken up with enthusiasm by amateurs, particularly in France and the United States.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-211-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1982.150
Date: 1841
Material: Brass / wooden box / wooden clamp. Inscription: LEREBOURS A PARIS
Dimensions: 140 mm x 105 mm D; 250 mm x 220 mm x 225 mm
What: Camera / accessory / box
Who: Alexis Gandin (Designer)
Lerebours (Inscribed on the camera)
Lerebours, Paris (Maker)
Where: France, Paris
France, Paris
Description: Cylindrical-bodied camera in brass, contained in a wooden carrying box with accessories, designed by Alexis Gandin
  • A. Gaudin et P. Lerebours, Derniers perfectionnements apportes au Daguerreotype (Paris, 1842); Brian Coe, Cameras: From Daguerreotypes to Instant Pictures (London, 1980), p 18 
  • For this example, see Sara Stevenson, Light from the Dark Room (Edinburgh, 1995), p 16 
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