Out of darkness, cometh light


Wolverhampton is an industrial city in the West Midlands of England, in the county of Staffordshire. When I looked it up, I found the motto of the city is “Out of darkness, cometh light.”

This is significant in that the South Staffordshire Industrial & Fine Arts Exhibition, opening May 11, 1869, highlighted the relatively new art of painting with light, or photography. The catalogue of the exhibition, seen here, featured two original albumen prints trimmed and pasted into every copy. Note that ours is the second edition, tenth thousand issue. Such a large edition was necessary, given the fair welcomed over 200,000 visitors in just five months.

In his opening speech, Lord Granville said “The treasures of art and the products of skilled industry, both past and present, collected within these walls are invaluable by suggesting ideas and planting seeds that should bear good fruit in the future, and instill into their minds a will and taste for the beautiful and the refined.”


South Staffordshire Industrial & Fine Arts Exhibition, Molineux House, Wolverhampton, 1869: official catalogue. Second edition, Tenth thousand (Wolverhampton: Steen and Blacket, Steam Printing Works, 1869). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2008-2487N