The Oldest Photos

25th November 2010, 01:13
Can anyone tell what are the oldest photos of sailing ships.
Reason I ask is that a local magazine has published a photo of the topsail schooner Lady of St Kilda. The photo is of the ship at anchor and the quality is extraordinary,looks if it was taken from another boat.
This ship is reported wrecked in 1843 when, as I understand it, photography was still in it's infancy and Google advises that the first glass negatives were only invented around 1840.

25th November 2010, 01:54
Here is the photo of Lady of St Kilda

25th November 2010, 13:19
I wonder if the two pictures are of the LADY OF ST. KILDA? The drawing is a topsail schooner and has the appearance of that age. The photograph, however is of a brigantine with double topsails.

I am not sure double topsails were even around in the early 1840s, but can't say for sure.

25th November 2010, 14:08
I agree with Bob and feel sure that the drawing and the photo are of different vessels.

1st December 2010, 03:17
Thank you both for your comments.
I do not want to get into the well known discussion on different topsail schooner/brigantine characteristics other than to say that I was, at one time, Master of a Polacre Hermaphrodite Brigantine
Surely on this site, so full of recondite knowledge, some one can point me at the earliest photographs of sailing vessels

1st December 2010, 07:30
Hi Reefrat,
I still believe the two images are of different ships. I am pretty sure that double topsails were not around when the LADY OF ST. KILDA was lost and the vessel in the photograph has them!!

As for photography. They were experimenting with it in the 1820s and Daguerrotypes were being successfuly taken in the 1830s. Lots of information and examples if you put:
"earliest photographs ever taken"
in Google.
Best wishes

1st December 2010, 15:17
Thank you shipbuilder, I have tried Google and did not have much luck. The photo is of such good quality I suspect that it is from a glass negative, only generally around in the 1850s and required lots of gear

1st December 2010, 15:44
I think the greatest problem with early photographs was keeping the subject still for maybe several seconds. I suppose ships were ideal subjects if they were quietly at anchor or alongside. The ship in the photograph seems to have a round stern and the drawing a square one that is much more likely for that era. However, the double topsails in the photograph convince me that it is of a different ship of a much later ere. The rigs are different regardless of what you call them.