The Horner Collection
In March 2021, with Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund support and a successful crowdfunding campaign, the Museum was able to secure the Horner Collection, a group of over 1000 photographs taken by the Horner family who ran a photography studio in Settle. These photographs capture the changing faces and places of Settle and the surrounding areas for nearly a hundred years.
Michael Horner, jr. went into business in 1864, advertising in the Settle Chronicle that he had ‘spent four months in one of the leading Photographic Studios in Manchester …’ and had now ‘commenced the business at his father’s address, Market Place Settle’. He died just five years later, possibly from TB, no doubt made worse by exposure to poisonous fumes generated by the wet collodion photography process.
Michael’s younger brother Anthony took up the business in 1869, aged just 16. Anthony was especially gifted at family and individual portraits, and was able to capture the essence of his sitter even in a formal studio setting.
The last Horner to run the studio was Anthony’s son, Edward Holmes Horner. He carried on the business for another 55 years. Eddie was well known for both portraits and views of the area, often covering weddings and family gatherings, and even being called to photograph prize cattle. He died in 1960. The business was ultimately bought by Ken and Jean Jelley, who carefully preserved the glass plate negatives which comprise the Horner Collection.
The Trust has received a Reimagine grant from the Art Fund to set up the Through A New Lens project to research, describe, digitise and display the Horner Collection in a permanent exhibition at The Folly. This involves a dedicated team of volunteers working alongside a consultant photographic historian to catalogue the photographs, scan them, and identify any conservation issues. Ultimately, the Trust plans to create an online catalogue of every photograph in the collection for use by researchers, family historians and members of the public alike. If you are interested in volunteering for the Horner Collection project, please contact us.