The Horse in Motion – Abe Edgington boudoir print at auction

A rare example of one of the six boudoir prints entitled The Horse in Motion, published in 1878 in San Francisco by the Morse Gallery, is to be auctioned online by Be.Hold – ending 22 September.  From the online auction catalogue for the ‘Collectors’ Joy’ sale:

‘It shows 6 images of  Leland Stanford’s “Abe Edgington.”  There is extensive text on the recto and verso about Muybridge’s work with the “Electro-Photographic Apparatus” as well as advertising of his awards. He announces “Arrangements made for Photographing and Recording the action of Animals in motion, in any part of the World.” This is a rare object. It is in fine undamaged condition, with only the slightest sign of aging.’

Suggested bid at present: 1,100 dollars.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

It’s all in the detail

Panorama of San Francisco, 1878 [detail]

One of the popular exhibits of the recent Tate Britain exhibition was the 17-foot long panorama of San Francisco; the example on display was from the Kingston Museum Collection. Although the panorama has appeared in print in various books over the years, and online, the high resolution version on the web is still something of a revelation. No need to pore over the book-size printed images with a magnifier – now you can scroll up and down and along and see all the detail that’s there.

Various arrangements are at:

As well as the 13-panel join-up, there’s a more sophisticated version that’s knitted together in a full 360 degree circle. The 360-join-up version has gained some distortion along the way, but it’s still fun being able to spin all the way round!

Exceptional detail is also provided for a growing number of Muybridge photographs on the Calisphere website – bringing together all of the photographs from the various University of California websites.

Mills' Seminary, California

Eadweard Muybridge stereoscopic photograph of Mills Hall,
circa 1873. Contributing Institution: F. W. Olin Library Mills College

Why is the woman in black turned away from the camera? A whim of the photographer, to produce a more interesting and enigmatic composition?

For some, the availabllity of such photographs in such minute detail online will take away some of the regret at not being able to own originals. Although reasonable in comparison with many other 19th-century photographic images, good examples don’t come cheap. This rare 1874 cabinet card of a collage by Muybridge’s publishers Bradley & Rulofson is currently on eBay, starting price 895 dollars.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Weird Adventures airs on BBC tv

Andy Serkis. Photo (c) BBC

Apart from re-enactments in a 1960s US programme introduced by Ronald Reagan, Eadweard Muybridge as a character of considerable importance in the story of the creation and recording of the modern world has been absent from television. The Weird Adventures of Eadweard Muybridge is the first programme to attempt to tell the full story. It does touch on most aspects, leaving out the bits with very little visual material – the five years spent as a bookseller in New York, totally avoided in the commentary – and his various activities during the five ‘lost years’ back in Europe in the 60s. But for a one-hour programme, it packs a lot in.

Philip Brookman talks with Alan Yentob. Photo (c) BBC

The talking heads include Philip Brookman, whose exhibition in Washington did so much to introduce Muybridge to a wider public; author Rebecca Solnit, in splendid hat, musing on Muybridge in San Francisco as she wanders through the harbour; print collector Michael Wilson marvelling at the artistry of the travel photographs; Jonathan Miller not getting it at all, and insisting that Muybridge was simply an entertainer; recent biographer and long-time chronophotography specialist Marta Braun talking about the Animal Locomotion sequences; art curator Ann Dumas of the Royal Academy of Arts explaining the connection with the ballet dancers of Degas; and Kingston Museum curator Peta Cook introducing the sacred scrapbook, and zoopraxiscope discs.

A nice touch was Stanford Red Barn (Palo Alto) horse trainer Rachel Williamson confirming that the 1870s horse photos are still used today in the equestrian world.

Rachel Williamson. Photo (c) BBC

I got my fair share of the running time, mostly talking about the complexities of the image projections at a Muybridge lecture, and I also managed to get the last word in. [voice from across the room – “you always do…”]

‘Andy Serkis as Muybridge’ said the blurb, and he appeared reading Muybridge’s own words, wearing just a hint of period costume, but no stick-on beard. Serkis was also one of the expert talking heads, since he’s very familiar with the subject, having been developing a Muybridge feature film project for some years. And of course, he’s best known for being Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy – his physical image altered by CG techniques, in a modern development of the motion capture and image manipulation used by Muybridge for converting his photo sequences to painted animations.

No recent news on the feature movie, but perhaps it will happen someday.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

1877 Panorama of San Francisco in Bonhams Auction

Panorama of San Francisco from California Street Hill

[Note: the example shown here (10 of the 11 panels) is not that being auctioned, but the example in the Sack Photographic Trust collection.]

An example of Muybridge’s 1877 Panorama of San Francisco will be in Bonhams Auction, Dec. 2 in New York.

Sale 18598 – The American Experience: 1630-1890
New York and San Francisco, 13:00 2 Dec 2010

Lot 303
Panorama of San Francisco from California St. Hill. San Francisco: Morse Gallery, 1877.
11-panel albumen print view, 85 1/2 x 7 1/4 inches, mounted on linen and accordion-folded into 4to folder. Original garnet pebbled cloth lettered in gilt, custom cloth chemise and burgundy levant-backed slipcase. Tideline on mount below image, verso foxed and apparent on recto, mainly along the skyline, slight fading at some panel edges, folder with dampstain to tail-edge quarter, otherwise bright.

MUYBRIDGE’S 360-DEGREE “PATRICIAN’S” VIEW OF SAN FRANCISCO, taken from the central tower of Central Pacific Railroad magnate Mark Hopkins’s unfinished Nob Hill home at the corner of California and Mason streets. Muybridge captured the view over a period of several hours, as evidenced by the shifting shadow. The photographic panorama is a remarkable technical achievement as it took numerous calculations to correctly orient each exposure in order to assemble a continuous image. This example with the clock in the fifth panel at a quarter to two.
Howes M926.
Acquisition: purchased from William Reese Company, 2001, $17,500.
[Estimate]$15,000 to 25,000

Leah Garchick notes in the San Francisco Chronicle:

‘The works are owned by Bruce McKinney, a San Francisco collector and founder of the Americana Exchange (, a website that keeps track of the business of collecting and the provenance of individual items. McKinney believes that collecting should be demystified and transactions transparent. So catalog notes for the items he’s selling include information about where they were acquired and how much McKinney paid. What’s even rarer is that all items will be sold with no reserve. …

Why is he selling? “Honestly,” said McKinney, “no man in my family has ever lived to be 70, and I’m 64. It’s never been in the cards for us, and we don’t really understand why. … But I’m a strong believer that books need to be sold by the collector and not left on the shelf to be disposed of later. They never get handled well.”’

Read more:

An 11-panel panorama sold on eBay in 2008, closing price $42,500.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Did Muybridge build the American Great Lakes in his Kingston back garden?

The following report is from the Croydon Guardian

Beasley’s panoramas of Muybridge’s garden

will be displayed on postcards you can take away from the exhibition

12:35pm Thursday 18th November 2010

By Graham Moody

There’s been a long-standing rumour about Eadweard Muybridge and a last great project he was said to be undertaking in the back garden of his Kingston home shortly before his death in 1904.

The renowned photographer is believed to have been creating a scale model of the American Great Lakes by digging ponds but no one has yet been able to ascertain whether or not he really was.

Artist Becky Beasley is now the world expert on the subject and has perhaps come closest to finding a conclusive answer which she unveil at her exhibition as part of the Muybridge in Kingston series at the Stanley Picker Gallery from Wednesday.

“The rumour about Muybridge’s last project is something that is really interesting for me,” she explains.

“A lot of people have tried to get access to his garden in Liverpool Road but there are big gated walls around the house and there was an access denied there if you like.

“I wrote to the owners though and explained to them what I wanted to do and they gave me access and allowed me to take photos.

“And so I made two 360 degree panoramas as there are two spaces in the garden, a small one and a larger space.

“The reason for the panorama is because I was inspired by Muybridge’s Panorama of San Francisco in 1878 that is still described as one of the best panoramas ever.”

Beasley’s panoramas of Muybridge’s garden will be displayed on postcards you can take away from the exhibition along with a pamphlet detailing her findings (which she is keeping tightly under wraps for now), all of which will be based on an expensive linoleum floor “For me the most ambitious part of the project is the linoleum floor I have decided to lay in the 140m square space,” says Beasley.

“I have designed an image that will be put into it and likened it to making a movie as it is centrally very expensive and a one off that will only be down for two weeks.

“There will be these two tall thin revolving postcard rails each with images from one section of the garden and they will be things you can take away.

“Although it is very much a landscape space we have opened it up and taken all of the temporary walls down so it will be a big open space that means as soon as you enter you will see everything all at once.

“You will feel like you are in a garden in terms of scale.”

Becky Beasley, Muybridge in Kingston Contemporary Commissions, Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University, November 24 to February 5, 12pm to 6pm (not Monday), free. Call 020 8417 4074 or visit

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Tate Britain: Here come the reviews……

(c) The Independent

Here are some of the many, many reviews of the Tate Britain’s Eadweard Muybridge exhibition. More to follow, after all the fuss dies down and I can take a breath.

Rebecca Solnit defends Muybridge against “a new campaign of innuendo.”

“History now remembers him in fragments, as a landscape photographer, as a technical innovator, as a key figure in the long march to motion pictures, as the maker of the motion studies whose grids of images and images themselves influenced everyone from the painter Francis Bacon to the conceptual artist Sol LeWitt. His accomplishment is so broad and curious that few have assimilated it into what is, despite everything, a coherent achievement. And a new round of challenges to his originality and even his authorship have surfaced in the last few years.”

Eadweard Muybridge: Running Man (Time Out)
by Helen Sumpter

“In later portraits of Muybridge, his glacially stern face and wild white hair and beard resemble the hard granite edifices, with white waterfalls, that he photographed in stunning detail in Yosemite. This leads us back to ‘Muybridge – The Movie’, for which only a grizzled Mark Wahlberg or an unhinged Christian Bale could possibly fill those pioneering shoes.”

Eadweard Muybridge: the moving story of a mysterious pioneer (Telegraph)
by Mark Hudson

“The man with the long beard looks more than a little odd, his deep-set, strangely catlike eyes seeming to look backwards into an intense inner world. Even by the standards of the 19th century, when great men from Tennyson to Carlyle cultivated the look of Old Testament prophets, Eadweard Muybridge, who adopted the eccentric spelling of his first name in imitation of a Saxon king, looks a few sandwiches short of a picnic…..

Muybridge died, back home in Kingston, essentially a disappointed man, in 1904. And as David Hockney, a lifelong admirer, points out, without the interest of artists, he’d probably have been forgotten.

‘The cinema made him irrelevant. But his books were such an incredible repository of images for artists to use. Every art school had a copy of The Human Figure in Motion,’ he says.

Hockney transposed a frame of Muybridge’s Seated Woman Drinking Tea, Being Served by Standing Companion into a painting of his own of the same title. ‘The title gives it a quaintness. There is an eroticism in his work, but it’s offset by the sense of scientific inquiry,’ Hockney says.

Yet far from being marooned in a distant world of Victorian eccentricity, Muybridge has long been acclaimed as one of the creators of the modern world – a status that seems to be rising by the day.“

Eadweard Muybridge was a great pioneer, says Richard Dorment (Telegraph)

“While his technical innovations belong to the realms of science, Muybridge’s photographs are also objects of elusive beauty, mysteriously imbued with the powerful personality of a man you feel by the end of this show you have come to know.”

19th century pioneer Eadweard Muybridge photos earn place in history at Tate Britain (culture 24)
by Mark Sheerin

“These animal motion studies still hold the power of surprise. A speeding greyhound is almost liquid. A jumping horse appears to decompose and recompose on either side of its hurdle. These everyday creatures are more mercurial than you would imagine.”

Eadweard Muybridge at Tate Britain (Financial Times)
by Simon Schama

“So if you want to know how “motion studies” begat moving pictures begat the movies – a peculiarly Californian story – go to the Tate Britain show, even though the array of wonders is installed with the kind of curatorial teeth-clench that demands reverence for the Art above any atmospheric rendering of the rackety world of the Gilded Age. Would it have killed off aesthetic integrity to have had a bit of California honky-tonk in the glorious room featuring Muybridge’s 360 degree panorama of San Francisco? In an exhibition about the birth of the moving image there are exactly two items that move: a comprehensive slideshow of every plate from Animal Locomotion and a cheerful display of Muybridge’s “zoopraxical” projections.”

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

For Your Diary September-October 2010

from a lantern slide, Kingston Museum

Lots happening Muybridge-wise in the UK over the next few months. Here are some of the events taking place during September and October. More details as they emerge.

Eadweard Muybridge at Tate Britain
8 Sept – 16 Jan
Tate Britain, Millbank
First major UK retrospective of Muybridge’s entire career.
Tickets £10/£8.50 from htpp://

Muybridge in Kingston Launch Day
Sat 18 Sept 12.30-7pm
Kingston Museum & Stanley Picker Gallery
Public launch of the Muybridge in Kingston exhibitions with special events for all the family, including a magic lantern show from Professor Heard, shadow puppetry from Zannie Fraser and an evening launch lecture on Muybridge’s links to the history of the moving and projected image by Muybridge expert Stephen Herbert.
All welcome – no booking required.

Park Nights at Serpentine Gallery Pavilion
Becky Beasley & Chris Sharp
Fri 24 Sept 8pm
Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens
13 pieces, 17 feet is a monologue in thirteen parts that finds its point of departure in Muybridge’s extraordinary 1878 San Francisco panorama.
Tickets £5/£4 from

Late at Tate: Eadweard Muybridge
Fri 1 Oct 6pm-10pm
Tate Britain, Millbank
An evening of Muybridge-inspired events.
Visit htpp:// for further details.

In Conversation: Trevor Appleson
Wed 6 October 7pm
Stanley Picker Gallery
Exploring Muybridge’s influence on contemporary arts practitioners.
Limited seating – to reserve a FREE place please call 020 8417 4074

Muybridge & Moving Image History
Thurs 14 Oct, 28 Oct & 11 Nov 7pm
Kingston Museum
Evening lecture series offering unique insights into the relationship between Muybridge’s work and the history of visuality, film and animation.
Limited seating – to reserve a FREE place please call 020 8547 6460

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

HELIOS arrives!

HELIOS Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change, Philip Brookman.

The book was delivered yesterday. It looks magnificent – with a different dust jacket from that originally shown in pre-publication publicity – and at 360 pages will take a while to absorb. Now I regret more than ever not being able to get to see the exhibition in Washington (which includes exhibits that won’t make it across to Tate Britain), but this publication is a wonderful permanent record. More about the book (lots more) soon.

Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change (Hardcover)
Philip Brookman, with contributions by, Marta Braun, Corey Keller, Rebecca Solnit, Andy Grundberg.

See a brief introduction to Muybridge by Philip Brookman on Vimeo:

and a longer piece with Brookman, The pioneer of photography, on BBC World News America here:

Keeping up with developments – exhibitions, publications, symposiums, websites, artworks, videos, (even) songs – is proving to be quite a task at the moment, and the momentum is likely to be maintained throughout the summer and into the autumn. As my friend Luke McKernan has observed, this truly is The Year of Muybridge.

Posted here by Stephen Herbert

Muybridge photographs: Swann Auction today

Mills Seminary

Swann Auction: The Stephen L. White Collection and Fine Photographs Tuesday March 23rd

Sale 2208 Lot 54

MUYBRIDGE, EADWEARD (1830-1904) “Mills Seminary, Seminary Park, Alameda Co., Cal.”
Description: MUYBRIDGE, EADWEARD (1830-1904)
“Mills Seminary, Seminary Park, Alameda Co., Cal.” Mammoth albumen print, 15×21 1/4 (38.1×54 cm.), with Muybridge’s credit, the title, publisher’s information and notations printed on mount recto. 1873

Estimated Price: $10,000 – $15,000

Notes: The publishers are Bradley Eldridge, Rulofson, San Francisco. The other notations read, “Compliments J.O. Eldridge.”
Formerly in the collection of a Mills College Trustee; acquired from a private Denver dealer in 1990.
The Photograph and the American Dream 1840-1940, 50.
Former missionaries Cyrus and Susan Mills purchased the seminary in 1865 and moved its location to its present site in the Oakland foothills, changing its name to Mills Seminary. Mills Hall was built in 1871, and the young ladies who resided there ate vegetables from the school’s garden and drank milk from the school’s cow. Muybridge’s photograph shows the women of Mills Seminary on the lawn in front of Mills Hall, which remains a landmark building on the campus today. Mills Hall, an Italianate/Second Empire building by Samuel Bugbee and Sons, is now at the center of the campus. Much of the lush landscaping was the result of Dr. Cyrus Mills’s interest in horticulture, and provides the backdrop for an eclectic collection of buildings representing works by many of the region’s notable architects and more than a century of Bay Area architecture.

Sale 2208 Lot 10

Thirteen-part panorama of San Francisco, California. Toned silver prints (13), each approximately 18×15 inches (45.7×38.1 cm.), total size measuring approximately 195 inches (495 cm.) in length, flush mounted, each framed in lucite. 1878; printed 1973
Estimate $4,000-6,000

Acquired from a Santa Barbara, CA bookseller.
The Photograph and the American Dream 1840-1940, 170.
This panorama, which is comprised of 13 separate images, is one of the most precise visual records of San Francisco before the decimating earthquake of 1906. Muybridge’s construction of the panorama spawned his interest in progressive motion and sequential imaging, laying the groundwork for the stop-motion photographs that Muybridge would produce later in his career. The panorama he produced a year earlier, in 1877, consisted of 11 panels.

Sale 2208 Lot 60

Author’s Edition, Animal Locomotion
“Animal Locomotion (An Electro-Photographic Investigation of Consecutive Phases of Animal Movements).” With 21 plates depicting wrestlers, running and jumping horses, a lion, a bird in flight, walking and jumping men, a topless woman jumping rope, a nude man swinging a baseball bat and others. Collotype plates, size ranging from approximately 8 3/4×11 3/4 to 5 1/2×17 1/2 inches; sheet size 18×23 1/2 inches, on the two-toned paper, each with Muybridge’s copyright, title, date, plate number and “Author’s Edition” printed on recto; with an inscription by Muybridge, in pencil, on the title page. Atlas folio, gilt-lettered leather label, boards. 1872-1885; printed 1887
Estimate $15,000-20,000

The inscription reads, “With the warm esteem of The Author 31 March 1890.”
Acquired from a California collector via a private sale in 2008.
This Author’s Edition, published under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania, represents a collection of some of the most dynamic images from Muybridge’s series. Each Author’s Edition contains a unique selection of images and quantity of plates.

Sale 2208 Lot 59

Self-portrait showing movements from “Animal Locomotion.” Collotype, 8 1/4×15 inches (21×38.1 cm.), with Muybridge’s printed credit, title, date and plate number on the two-toned paper recto. 1887
Estimate $3,000-4,500

Acquired from Jo Tartt, Washington, D.C. in 1990.
The Photograph and the American Dream 1840-1940, 36.