Inside a Victorian Photo Shoot at Stonehenge

Inside a Victorian Photo Shoot at Stonehenge:

The image above, which was recently made
public by the photo research company TimePix
, is from 1867, and is part of
the first known photographic sequence ever taken of Stonehenge. (There are
older individual photographs, in the Royal Collection.) It’s from a book
called Plans and
Photographs of Stonehenge
, released by the U.K.’s Ordnance Survey and
written by the department head, Colonel Henry James.

Since the Ordnance Survey began in the late 18th century,
its workers have used
various tools
 to get the nation down on paper. In the 1860s, much of
the agency’s energy was focused on mapping all of Great Britain, county by
county, at six inches to the mile. As James’s preface explains, Plans
and Photographs of Stonehenge
 was made for the agency’s officers, to
prepare them for encounters with any “Objects of Antiquity” that they
might come across during their work, as well as to “stimulate them to make
Plans and Sketches.”

“It was a very gentlemanly pursuit to have an
interest in archaeology, or antiquities as they called it back then,” says
TimePix founder Elaine Owen. James didn’t want his employees to come across an
ancient treasure and mess up how they measured it.