Ronald Leslie Melville took pictures mainly in the 1860s for his private pleasure. He was one of the many wealthy amateurs who were attracted to photography after Frederick Scott Archer invented the collodion process in 1851. It was an expensive and time-consuming hobby which he pursued enthusiastically but only for a few years. Melville's output diminished as he began to build a career as a city banker. His albums are full of images of family and friends. They include landscapes, portraits and posed history pictures, often influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites or the poetry of Tennyson.