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Ken and Jenny Jacobson Orientalist Photography collection, 1788-1960,

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Jacobson (Ken and Jenny) collection

Biographical / Historical note

Ken and Jenny Jacobson are photographic art dealers based in England. Ken was born in the United States and holds a B.A. in chemistry from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Biophysics from King's College, London, where he met Jenny, who was working in research in biochemistry. While pursuing his doctorate Ken became interested in and began collecting nineteenth-century photography. This avocation became a vocation, as what was to have been a gap year devoted to selling photographs before starting a career in scientific research, never ended.

As his research interests shifted to the history of nineteenth century photography, Ken began writing as well as dealing. With Jenny as his advisor and editor his books include Étude d'après nature: 19th Century Photographs in Relation to Art, 1996; The Lovely Sea-view-- Which All London is Now Wondering At: A Study of the Marine Photographs Published by Gustave Le Gray, 1856-1858, 2001; Odalisques & Arabesques: Orientalist Photography, 1839-1925, 2007; and most recently, with Jenny, Carrying off the Palaces: John Ruskin's Lost Daguerreotypes, 2015. This most recent publication is the culmination of the Jacobson's discovery in 2006 at a small country auction in Cumbria, England, of over 100 daguerreotypes of Italy, France and Switzerland, including the largest extant group of daguerreotypes of Venice, as well as what are likely the earliest photographs made of the Alps, which once belonged to English art critic John Ruskin, and which he possibly took himself or else commissioned or purchased from another photographer(s).

In addition to writing, Ken has delivered lectures at such institutions as the Royal Asiatic Society, London; the Snite Museum, University of Notre Dame, Indiana; the Department of Art History, University of Cambridge; and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles and at the annual meetings of the Daguerreian Society.

The Jacobsons are members of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers, and Ken served as one of its board members for ten years.

Sources consulted:

Behdad, Ali, Camera Orientalis: Reflections on Photography of the Middle East, Chicago, London: The University of Chicago Press, 2016.

Jacobson, Ken, Odalisques & Arabesques: Orientalist Photography, 1839-1925, London: Quaritch, 2007.

Jacobson, Ken and Jenny Jacobson, Carrying off the Palaces: John Ruskin's Lost Daguerreotypes, London: Quaritch, 2015.

"About Us," K. & J. Jacobson. 19th Century Photography,

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