Gambier Bolton was born in 1854. He was the son of Rev James Jay Bolton of Kilburn, London and a direct decendant of Oughtrede de Bolton, Lord of Bolton, the lineal representative of the saxon Earls of Mercia, 1135. Gambier Bolton was educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
He became known as an amateur photographer and quickly gained recognition through his high quality work and his travels to exotic countries in order to captured images of dangerous animals. He was the worlds first celebrated animal photographer for his candid photographs of wild animals, His numerous articles, his lecturing and books regarding animals, natural history and psychic phenomena. His photographic work extended broadly, however he is less known for the hundreds of images published in scientific records, journals and books of zoology. As a member of the zoological society he was afforded access to many wild animals in captivity. Gambier is described as having been in every zoo in the US and Europe studying animals. He has recorded traveling to Europe, Americas, Canada, Hawaiian Islands, Japan, China, Java, The Maylay peninsula, Burmah, South Africa, Mashbonsland, Manicaland, Portugese East Africa, Transvaal, Cape Colony, etc.
His work can be found in the more popular articles including, Funny Foreign Dogs, The Larger Cats, On Giraffes Generally, Some Eccentric Animals, Pictures in the Human Skin, Orang-Utan, Ghosts in the solid, a book of Beasts and Birds, the animals of the bible, and psychic force.
In 1893 to 1894 Gambier accompanied the Duke of Newcastle on his world tour. They shared a common interest of photographing natural history subjects.
In an 1896 Churchill magazine article, it described the danger Gambier faced during shoots, as was represented by a hole on his cameras focusing cloth which was marked with the words tiger claw, providing a reminder of a close encounter when a tiger made a swipe at the photographer through the cage bars during a shoot at the zoo. In a 1900 article in The World Wide magazine, it described how Gambier's life was threatened by was attack from a charging Wapiti that was being photographed. Gambier used his large camera and tripod's three pointed stand legs to thwart the attack only bringing more intrigue to the photos presented.
In 1899, W. Watson & Sons constructed a camera based on the famous photographer's specification. The Gambier Bolton Camera was designed by Gambier to serve as a combination camera for the use of long distance photography or as a readily available hand camera. For more information on the Gambier Bolton Camera Click here
In 1901 he was a founding member of the club devoted to Siamese cats, founded in England
Gambier Bolton died July 29, 1929.
1896,1898 The Windsor Magazine
1960 CFA Yearbook by Carlon Boren
1899, The Idler Magazine
1907 Who's Who, vol 59, p.179
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