Posted 6 years ago
Years ago I collected early British cameras. While now specializing in American cameras, I thought to share what I considered one of the centerpieces of my former collection of British cameras.
William Morley, one of the really early British builders, is believed to have started his business in 1843. Morley's cameras are known for their meticulous and beautifully finished constructions.
This particular camera is a fine example of a ¼-plate (3¼ x 4¼ inch format) wet plate tailboard view with its original holder. It is made of richly finished mahogany wood, brass trimmed, and fitted with a maroon leather bellows. An early Ross lens is mounted. As with many pre-1900 British apparatus, all of the screw head slots are aligned.
Morley must have been extremely concerned with detail and quality during all phases of construction. All major wood parts (including the wet plate holder) have matching construction "lot marks." When cleaning the lens elements of dust, I discovered that Morley even engraved the same construction lot mark on the inner brass barrel. This indicates that the lens is original to the camera.
The Morley camera is very small, measuring only 6½" high x 4¼" wide x 8" long and extremely rare in this size. The "outrigger" bed support shown in the first image is an unusual feature for a camera this small.