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The Western Doorway of the Church

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Batalha (photographed)

  • Date:

    1867 (photographed)
    1868 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Thompson, Charles Thurston, born 1816 - died 1868 (photographer)
    Arundel Society (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 512M, case MX17, shelf X, box 879

Charles Thurston Thompson was the V&A's first Official Museum Photographer, in charge of the Museum's photographic operations from 1856 until his death in 1868. In addition to photographing museum objects and objects on loan, he also photographed great works of art and architecture on dedicated photographic campaigns abroad.

This is one of seven sets of Thurston Thompson's series of photographs of the Monastery of Batalha, Portugal in the V&A collection. The series was published shortly after his death by the Arundel Society, sanctioned by the Science and Art Department, (under the authority of which the V&A was originally established). Available to artists, amateurs and collectors through a subscription service, these volumes were also acquired by the Science and Art Department for the use of schools of art.

Of these seven volumes, seven are bound, the other two sets are composed of loose plates, with some additional plates not included in the bound volumes and marked as proofs. The various stamps and presentation formats demonstrate the multiple ways photographs were circulated not only throughout the museum, but to the larger community of scholars, artists and connoisseurs.

Physical description

A sepia-coloured photograph of a view of the arched doorway to a church, plate 3 in an album bound in blue leather of 20 photographs and letterpress title page, essay and order form.

Place of Origin

Batalha (photographed)


1867 (photographed)
1868 (published)


Thompson, Charles Thurston, born 1816 - died 1868 (photographer)
Arundel Society (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print

Marks and inscriptions

printed label affixed to bottom of page

blind stamp, centre front mount


Height: 385 mm page, Width: 475 mm page

Descriptive line

Photograph by Charles Thurston Thompson, 'The Western Doorway of the Church', albumen print, 1867, from the album 'The Sculptured Ornament of the Monastery of Batalha in Portugal' published by the Arundel Society for Promoting the Knowledge of Art, London, 1868

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Thompson, Charles Thurston. The Sculptured Ornament of the Monastery of Batalha in Portugal: Twenty Photographs by the late Charles ThurstonThompson with a Descriptive Account of the Building. Under the Sanction of the Science and Art Department, for the Use of Schools of Art and Amateurs. London: Arundel Society for Promoting the Knowldege of Art and Bell and Daldy, 1868.


Photographic paper


Photography; Albumen process

Subjects depicted

Doorways; Churches; Monasteries


Photographs; Topography; Tourism & Travel


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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