Sir William Henry Perkin, English chemist, with colleagues, c 1870.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Perkin (1838-1907) and his colleagues at the dyestuffs firm of Perkin & Sons, probably taken next to the Greenford Green factory: Perkin (second from the right), his brother Thomas Dix Perkin (second from the left). The chemists were Mr Stocks (far left), Robert Williamson (centre) and James Thomas Brown (far right). 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. Group portrait from a collection of 19 photographs relating to Perkin, his relations, and the synthetic dyestuffs industry.