The very first book in the world to be illustrated with photographs was produced in Reading between 1844 and 1846. In 1843, William Henry Fox Talbot set up the first commercial studios to mass-produce photographs from negatives and he chose the Berkshire town of Reading as its location.
The Reading Establishment, as it became known, marks a pivotal moment in the development of photography. Martin Andrews tells the story of these momentous events and places them in the context of the discovery and early history of photography. Told in a lively and engaging way, the story starts with a mystery. Who is the strange, foreign gentleman buying unusual substances in the chemist shops of Reading – is he a forger or a spy?
Martin Andrews was a museum and exhibition designer for many years, and since 1990 has been a Lecturer in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. He is a printing historian and has lectured widely in Britain and abroad and published numerous articles as well as an extensive biography of the author and artist, The Life and Works of Robert Gibbings (Primrose Hill, 2003). He lives in Reading.