From the early 1850's until 1977 the Richards family captured Penwith in all its aspects, as the constantly changing scenes in their photographs show.
Subjects range from portraits to shipwrecks, civic events to townscapes, celebrity visits to freak weather occurrences. Beautifully composed images magic up past lives and happenings, bringing the viewer every emotion from compassion to entertainment.
Founding father William Richards established himself in the photography business in the 1850's through his wife’s stepfather, William Jenkyn – the man credited with being the first maker of photographic ‘wet plates’ in the west of England.
The business was handed down from father to sons, through four generations. The last of these, Eddie and Reggie Richards continued the family business for a further 42 years. In 1977 the doors of their studio finally closed, when they both retired.
Many Penzance people remember the studio at Number Two, Queen Street, and many will have their own portrait photographs taken by the men themselves, but their legacy is far greater than these individual likenesses.
Through the artistry of their work, inspired by the surroundings of their home in Penwith and the rich variety of subjects, the Richards family of photographic artists have left us with a unique window on our past, which is bound to touch every visitor: truly an exhibition not to be missed.
Most of the images included in the show have not been seen publicly before, but now, after hours of painstaking reprinting, they can be enjoyed for the first time.
The exhibition opened on Saturday 14 January and runs until Saturday 25 March 2006.
Penlee House Gallery & Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am until 4.30pm (last admission 4.00pm). For further details, please contact Penlee House on 01736 363625 or email firstname.lastname@example.org