Sir William Henry Perkin with his brother, Thomas Dix Perkin, c 1870-1872.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Portait photograph of William Henry Perkin (on the left) and his elder brother Thomas Dix Perkin (sititng on the right), who was also his partner in Perkin & Sons. From a collection of 19 photographs relating to Sir William Henry Perkin (1838-1907), his relations, and the synthetic dyestuffs industry. In 1856, whilst attempting to synthesise quinine for the treatment of malaria, Perkin managed to extract a brilliant purple dye, subsequently named mauveine. His manufacture of this and other aniline dyes was a great commercial succes and he went on to create the modern synthetic dyestuffs industry and introduce a new range of colours into human life. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1866 and knighted in 1906.