Joseph Booth (a stage name, real surname Martin) (died 1797) was an English tradesman, actor and inventor.
Booth's life is not well documented. Initially a hosier at Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, he went on the stage. 
In 1774, when he recruited Thomas Holcroft to his company at Carlisle, Booth was a provincial theatrical manager in the north of England. The position was a temporary one, the company manager West Digges being absent. The company contained other well-known names: Elizabeth Inchbald, James Perry, William Shield. A business proposition concerned with making reproductions of paintings, by a process kept secret, was something Booth discussed with Holcroft around 1780; at this period he was an assistant prompter at Covent Garden Theatre. He also claimed an invention relating to textile manufacture.     
Booth in London set up the Polygraphic Society.  It held annual exhibitions, after Booth had published a pamphlet explaining the scheme in 1784. It also issued catalogues of the reproduction paintings available in "polygraphic" form. The first catalogue, of 24 paintings, was issued from The Strand, London. The 1792 catalogue is of 80 paintings, and the Society's premises were then in Pall Mall, at Schomberg House.   The Society left its mark on Schomberg House by adding the Coade stone figures to the porch in 1791.   
The initial name for the polygraphic works was "pollaplasiasmos" (sometimes spelled "polyplasiasmos"). Thomas Jefferson bought one in London, of The Prodigal Son by Benjamin West, and it hung at Monticello.  
The Society's workshop, destroyed by fire in 1793, was at Woolwich Common. There it employed artists to finish partial printed copies in oils. Known to have been employed in this work are: James Baynes, Isaac Jehner, James Sillett, and the English-American portraitist William J. Weaver.    
The Society closed down in 1794.  Towards the end it was sharing its premises with the New Shakespeare Gallery of James Woodmason, a rival to the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery elsewhere in Pall Mall. The last polygraphic picture exhibition started on 10 December 1794, leading up to a final auction in April 1795 and the sale of the lease.  The Times had commented on the concentration of these innovative galleries.  According to Hazlitt, Holcroft was several hundred pounds the poorer for the collapse of the Society. 
Booth died on 25 February 1797, in Cumberland Gardens, Vauxhall.  Sillett wrote in 1808 in the Monthly Magazine stating there was no loss of the mystery or trade secrets; that Booth had been bought out some time before he died; and that the polygraphic work had continued after the fire for a year or so at Walham Green.  The 1795 auction was advertised by the executors of Thomas Goddard, who had held the lease on the Polygraphic Rooms in Pall Mall for the Society from 1792.  
There is no concrete evidence to connect Booth's process with that of Francis Eginton, even if at the time the two may have been assumed related.  Weaver was advertising the "polygraphic art" in New York in 1805. 
James Perry made an effort to continue the "polygraphic art" south-west of London;  Pryse Gordon in 1830 decried Booth as a charlatan, and told of Booth's textile scheme in connection with Perry and his colleague James Gray.  Richard Alfred Davenport writing in 1837, rather dismissively, mentioned that at least eight exhibitions were held, and suggested that the process used multiple blocks, an innovation that had been tried again recently.  In the 1860s the works of the Polygraphic Society were brought up in a debate on the priority for photography. 
Booth married an actress named Malatratt. William Martin was their son. 
Thomas Gainsborough was an English portrait and landscape painter, draughtsman, and printmaker. Along with his rival Sir Joshua Reynolds, he is considered one of the most important British artists of the second half of the 18th century. He painted quickly, and the works of his maturity are characterised by a light palette and easy strokes. Despite being a prolific portrait painter, Gainsborough gained greater satisfaction from his landscapes. He is credited as the originator of the 18th-century British landscape school. Gainsborough was a founding member of the Royal Academy.
The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.
The Regency in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a period at the end of the Georgian era, when King George III was deemed unfit to rule due to his illness, and his son ruled as his proxy, as prince regent. Upon George III's death in 1820, the prince regent became King George IV. The term Regency can refer to various stretches of time; some are longer than the decade of the formal Regency which lasted from 1811 to 1820. The period from 1795 to 1837, which includes the latter part of George III's reign and the reigns of his sons George IV and William IV, is sometimes regarded as the Regency era, characterised by distinctive trends in British architecture, literature, fashions, politics, and culture.
Thomas Holcroft was an English dramatist, miscellanist, poet and translator. He was sympathetic to the early ideas of the French Revolution and helped Thomas Paine publish the first part of The Rights of Man.
Soho House is a museum run by Birmingham Museums Trust, celebrating Matthew Boulton's life, his partnership with James Watt, his membership of the Lunar Society of Birmingham and his contribution to the Midlands Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. It is a Grade II* listed 18th-century house in Handsworth, part of Birmingham since 1911, but historically in the county of Staffordshire. It was the home of entrepreneur Matthew Boulton from 1766 until his death in 1809, and a regular meeting-place of the Lunar Society.
Pall Mall is a street in the St James's area of the City of Westminster, Central London. It connects St James's Street to Trafalgar Square and is a section of the regional A4 road. The street's name is derived from 'pall-mall', a ball game played there during the 17th century.
Richard Cosway was a leading English portrait painter of the Regency era, noted for his miniatures. He was a contemporary of John Smart, George Engleheart, William Wood, and Richard Crosse. His wife was the Italian-born painter Maria Cosway, a close friend of Thomas Jefferson.
St James's is a central district in the City of Westminster, London, forming part of the West End. In the 17th century the area developed as a residential location for the British aristocracy, and around the 19th century was the focus of the development of gentlemen's clubs. Anciently part of the parish of St Martin in the Fields, much of it formed the parish of St James from 1685 to 1922. Since the Second World War the area has transitioned from residential to commercial use.
James Paine (1717–1789) was an English architect.
Schomberg House at 80–82 Pall Mall is a prominent house on the south side of Pall Mall in central London which has a colourful history. Only the street facade survives today. It was built for The 3rd Duke of Schomberg, a Huguenot general in the service of the British Crown. It was adapted from Portland House, which in turn had been created by the Countess of Portland by converting two houses into a single residence. Work began in 1694, the year after the duke inherited his title.
Mary Beale was amongst the most prolific and commercially successful British portrait painters of the late 17th century and, along with Joan Carlile and Susan Penelope Rosse (c.1655-1700) was part of a small band of female professional artists working in London. Beale became the main financial provider for her family through her professional work - a career she maintained from 1670/1 to the 1690s. Beale was also a writer, whose prose Discourse on Friendship of 1666 presents scholarly, uniquely female take on the subject. Her 1663 manuscript Observations on the materials and techniques employed "in her painting of Apricots", though not printed, is the earliest known instructional text in English written by a female painter. Praised first as a "virtuous" practitioner in "Oyl Colours" by Sir William Sanderson in his 1658 book Graphice: Or The use of the Pen and Pensil; In the most Excellent Art of PAINTING, Beale’s work was later commended by court painter Sir Peter Lely and, soon after her death, by the author of "An Essay towards an English-School", his account of the most noteworthy artists of her generation.
The British Institution was a private 19th-century society in London formed to exhibit the works of living and dead artists; it was also known as the Pall Mall Picture Galleries or the British Gallery. Unlike the Royal Academy it admitted only connoisseurs, dominated by the nobility, rather than practicing artists to its membership, which along with its conservative taste led to tensions with the British artists it was intended to encourage and support. In its gallery in Pall Mall the Institution held the world's first regular temporary exhibitions of Old Master paintings, which alternated with sale exhibitions of the work of living artists; both quickly established themselves as popular parts of the London social and artistic calendar. From 1807 prizes were given to artists and surplus funds were used to buy paintings for the nation.
Robert Bowyer was a British miniature painter and publisher.
Francis Eginton (1737–1805),, sometimes spelled Egginton, was an English glass painter. He painted windows for cathedrals, churches, chapels and stately homes, etc., around the country, leaving 50 large works altogether; his work was also exported abroad. His masterpiece is The Conversion of St. Paul, for the east window of St Paul's Church, Birmingham. He also developed a method for reproducing paintings mechanically.
James Sillett was an English still life and landscape artist. He showed himself to be one of the most versatile of the Norwich School of painters: although the great majority of his works were still lifes and landscapes, he was also a drawing master and a miniaturist. His botanical paintings illustrations have been praised for their accuracy and attention to detail. These and his still life paintings are considered to be his best work, with some experts ranking him with William Jackson Hooker, whose illustrations were both accurate and charming. Sillett's own accurate depictions of plants were often used for book illustrations. His paintings often have an academic style, influenced by the masters of the eighteenth century in a way that set him apart from his Norwich contemporaries. He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1796 and 1837.
John Hazlitt was an English artist who specialised in miniature portrait painting. He was the eldest brother of William Hazlitt – a major essayist of the English Romantic period, as well as an artist and radical social commentator – and had a significant influence on his career.
George Kinnaird, 7th Lord Kinnaird (1754–1805) was a Scottish aristocrat, virtuoso, and banker. He was a representative peer in 1787.
Isaac Jehner was a painter and engraver who worked in the West Country and London. He changed his name to Jenner in 1806.
Sir Richard Brinsley Ford was a British art historian, scholar, and collector. He inherited a large collection of art from his family and was himself an avid collector. A drawing that he purchased in 1936 was sold by his estate for $12 million in 2000. Ford was the director of the Burlington Magazine, president of Walpole Society and chaired the National Art Collections Fund. During World War II he was a Troop Sergeant-Major in the Royal Artillery and then served in the military intelligence organisation, MI9.
Emma Sillett was a British painter, known for her flower paintings.