Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pritchard, Andrew
PRITCHARD, ANDREW (1804–1882), microscopist, eldest son of John Pritchard of Hackney, and his wife Ann, daughter of John Fleetwood, was born in London on 14 Dec. 1804. He was educated at St. Saviour's grammar school, Southwark, and was afterwards apprenticed to his cousin, Cornelius Varley, a patent agent and brother to John Varley [q. v.], the artist. On the expiration of his apprenticeship he started in business as an optician, first at 18 Picket Street, then at 312 Strand, and afterwards at 162 Fleet Street. He retired from business about 1852, and died at Highbury on 24 Nov. 1882. He married, on 16 July 1829, Caroline Isabella Straker.
Brought up with the ‘independents,’ Pritchard later in life associated with, though he never actually became a member of, the sect known as Sandemanians, and it was in connection with that body he first made the acquaintance of Faraday. He finally became a unitarian, and in 1840 joined the congregation at Newington Green, a connection which lasted throughout his life. He was greatly interested in all the institutions connected therewith, and was treasurer of the chapel from 1850 to 1872.
Pritchard early turned his attention to microscopy, and in 1824, while still with Varley, he, at the instigation of Dr. C. R. Goring, endeavoured to fashion a single lens out of a diamond. Despite the discouragement of diamond-cutters, he ultimately succeeded in 1826. He also fashioned simple lenses of sapphire and of ruby. His practical work on the microscope, however, was less productive of lasting results than his literary labours on the application of the instrument to the investigation of micro-organisms. His ‘History of the Infusoria’ was long a standard work, and the impetus it gave to the study of biological science cannot be readily overestimated.
Pritchard was author of:
- ‘A Treatise on Optical Instruments,’ 8vo, London, 1828, forming one of the volumes of the ‘Library of Entertaining Knowledge.’
- ‘Microscopic Illustrations,’ &c., written in association with Dr. C. R. Goring, 8vo, London, 1829; reissued 1830; 2nd edit. 1838; 3rd edit. 1845.
- ‘The Microscopic Cabinet,’ 8vo, London, 1832.
- ‘The Natural History of Animalcules,’ 8vo, London, 1834, afterwards rewritten, enlarged, and issued as ‘A History of Infusoria, Living and Fossil,’ 8vo, London, 1841; new edit. 1852; 4th edit. 1861.
- ‘A List of 2,000 Microscopic Objects,’ 12mo, London, 1835.
- ‘Micrographia,’ 8vo, London, 1837.
- ‘A Catalogue of the Orders, Families, and Principal Genera of British Insects,’ 8vo, London, 1839.
- ‘Notes on Natural History selected from the “Microscopic Cabinet,”’ 8vo, London, 1844.
- ‘English Patents,’ 8vo, London, 1847.
- ‘Microscopic Objects … with Instructions for preparing … them,’ 8vo, London, 1847.
- ‘A Practical Treatise on Optical Instruments,’ 8vo, London, 1850.
He also wrote four papers on microscopical optics between 1827 and 1833 in the ‘Quarterly Journal of Science,’ the ‘Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine,’ and the ‘Philosophical Magazine.’
Henry Baden Pritchard (1841–1884), chemist and writer, the third son of Andrew Pritchard, was born in Canonbury on 30 Nov. 1841, and sent to Eisenach and University College school, going afterwards to Switzerland to complete his education. In 1861 he obtained an appointment in the chemical department at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, and for some years before his death conducted the photographic department there. He died at Charlton, Kent, on 11 May 1884, having married, 25 March 1873, Mary, daughter of Matthew Evans of Shropshire.
He was author of:
- ‘A Peep in the Pyrenees’ (anon.) 8vo, London, 1867.
- ‘Tramps in the Tyrol,’ 8vo, London, 1874.
- ‘Beauty Spots on the Continent,’ 8vo, London, 1875.
- ‘Photographic Studios of Europe,’ 8vo, London, 1882.
- ‘A Trip to Sahara with the Camera,’ 8vo, London, 1884.
The following works of fiction were by Pritchard:
- ‘Dangerfield,’ 3 vols. 8vo, London, 1878.
- ‘Old Charlton,’ 3 vols. 8vo, London, 1879.
- ‘George Vanbrugh's Mistake,’ 3 vols. 8vo, London, 1880.
- ‘The Doctor's Daughter,’ 3 vols. 8vo, London, 1883.
He was also proprietor and editor of the ‘Photographic News’ from 1878 to 1884.
Portraits of him appeared in the ‘British Journal of Photography,’ 1884, and the ‘Year Book of Photography,’ 1885.
[Information kindly supplied by Miss Marian Pritchard.]