Is There a Photo of a 18th Century Soldier?

L&G, this may seem like a strange request. I am hoping you might be aware of a photograph that could claim to be possibly the earliest ever photograph of a soldier or Regiment.

The earliest photography dates from the 1830s. Is there possibly a photograph from the 1830s, 1840s that has an Officer, NCO or other rank who would have been old enough to have been born in the late 1700s?

If so this would be both interesting and remarkable, for me anyway!

Thanks in advance.



As i hvae nothing better to do here are a few.

Could this be one?

and after much search I found this gurkha picture.. i think its about the same time piccy

or this one mauri

I think this last one has to be the oldest of the ones I managed to find.

I know you said 1830 but its hard to find.
*Cough* 19th surely?
walrus said:
Brilliant. Thank you Walrus, that is pefect. :) I wonder how far back into the 18th century I can go for a birth and photographic evidence of a soldiers existance.

Fancy that, a photo of someone born 215 years ago.
According to a Googled "World's First Photograph" it was made in 1826... not a Warry one though!


Two more:-

Edmund Lyons, 1st Baron Lyons (1790-1858),_1st_Baron_Lyons
Navy rather than Army

Field Marshal FitzRoy James Henry Somerset, 1st Baron Raglan, (1788-1855)
Commander British Army in the Crimea (another 1855 Fenton photograph)

That's the best I can do, I'm afraid.

I'm certain that there was a 'photograph' (or, at least an image by one of the many early techniques) of the 1st Duke of Wellington as an old man, that would have to be pre-1852 and would take your date back to 1769.

After a bit of digging, I have found the following.

Louis Daugerre is considered by many to be the inventor of modern photography. On August 19, 1839, Daugerre announced his invention of the daguerreotype process that fixed optical images permanently. But the first successful photographic image, called a heliograph, was captured more than a decade earlier.

Niépce (pronounced Nee-ps) is universally credited with producing the first successful photograph in June/July 1827.

John McCosh was born on 5 March 1805 and died on 18 January 1885.
He spent much of his life in India, serving as a surgeon with the East India Company, with a break of about 4 years around 1840.
One of his earliest photographs is of Lt Stewart, who was killed in 1843.

National Army Museum

An album of McCosh's photographs is now held by the National Army Museum in London. The album appears to have been assembled without any overall plan. Some of its photos are duplicates. It may have been assembled in an attempt to bring together McCosh's collection of photographs at a time when he was moving on to other interests.

This note by John Gore appears in the front of the album:

"These photographs have no pretensions to merit. The negatives were taken on paper before the present process of collodion was known. Their fidelity will however make amends for their sorry imperfections. Like fragile remains of lost ages, their value is enhanced because the originals are no longer forthcoming."

The album includes 310 photographs, almost all are calotypes, most are portraits. The album includes

- Portraits of many of British Officers and their wives. The subjects were represented as individuals - e.g. Captain Jones, Madras

- Portraits of some of the local Indian population. These were described in ethnic or racial terms e.g. "Burmese Beauty" and "Madras Man".

- 47 views of Burma, including temples and buildings around Prome and Rangoon.

- 2 views of Calcutta, 3 of Lahore, 2 of Calcutta, 1 possibly of Malta and 2 of relics.

Maybe a trip to the NAM is in order.
Not the earliest photo, but can you imagine having a beer or three with these two?

Taken in 1890, this photograph shows two survivors from the Battle of Waterloo, wearing the cap the Scot John Isaac Cameron, who had served with the 79th Highlanders, and the Frenchman, Paul Abraham, who had been with the 7th Regiment of French Infantry.
Thank you very much for these links so far and for taking the time.

I believe HM Queen Victoria was the first monarch to be photographed. Since her reign began in 1837 it's most likely.

I'm going to try and find a photographic record that pre dates 1769. That's an amazing 239 years ago.


I never cease to be amazed by the knowledge and resoursfulness shown on ARRSE! What an interesting read. Thanks all. I had remained stuck on the daguerrotype until now.


Is the Cochrane portrait a photograph?


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