Sir William Henry Perkin, English chemist, and his wife Jemima, c 1860.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph from a collection of 19 photographs relating to Sir William Henry Perkin (1838-1907), his relations, and the synthetic dyestuffs industry. Jemima Harriott, daughter of John Liset, mathematical instrument maker, was Perkin's first wife (and cousin). She died in 1862. 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.