I have always been fascinated by the crosscurrents in art and technology and one of the figures that prompted that was this fellow.
At the time he taking photographs in Blewbury (a springline village on north side of Berkshire Downs near Oxford) the art form itself was still in its infancy.
How a Shepherd (one of 12 at this time it the mainstay of the village) came to possess and use a plate camera (I presume) is beyond me.
I have a local history book of photographs (see below) that clearly states that not only was there a collection of his photos but it available in late 1970s.
Tracking that collection down is something I must now do and I also want to investigate other artistic connections that Blewbury had with London from the late 19th century because of the train.
As this other photo (probably taken by Z.G.) shows artists were at work in the village.
This the painting Sheard also painted other rural subjects..
This PDF details two of his works: sheard1
More info. on Sheard: http://artuk.org/discover/artists/sheard-thomas-frederick-mason-18661921
I find this image very accurate of area I grew up in. Downland behind Blewbury I am certain. I believe a camera was used.
The detail of clothes matches family images see below.
This image is either my step-grandfather or another groom in 1900-10. Note clothing very similar although this in Long Wittenham on The Thames.
The labourers below are too clean my only complaint..tidied up for the image. They would have been sweating like pigs and covered in shit..:-)
Sheard, Thomas Frederick Mason; Harvesters Resting;
Shipley Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/harvesters-resting-36138
This the publication the photographs come from.
I briefly worked with Ron Freeborn who designed this collection for Roger Cambray at Didcot Girls School before he retired in 1990s.
The entire book has been digitised which wonderful and available online here: http://www.blewbury.co.uk/bip/bipstart.htm