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  • Date:

    ca. 1870 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gough, Kate E., born 1856 - died 1948 (photographer)

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Guy Eardley-Wilmot, nephew of Kate E. Gough

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 512M, case MX11, shelf X762, box I

Photo-collage and album-making were common practice among aristocratic Victorian women during the nineteenth century. The often humorous and varied compositions were informed by shared cultural values and common pastimes. Albums usually featured cut-up cartes-de-visite portraits which were pasted into re-imagined watercolour scenes, painted by the album makers. Women compiling the albums did not normally take the photographs.
Cartes-de-visites, introduced in 1854, were small-format, commercially produced photographs mounted onto card that became extremely popular in the 1860s. They were inexpensive and abundantly available, which made them appropriate for cutting and pasting in photo-collage. Photographic albums served both private and public functions. They were places for personal expression and they demonstrated a woman’s worldly accomplishments and artistic abilities. But, they also acted as a source of entertainment for guests in the drawing room with their witty or fantastical scenes. Unfinished pages were common and showed that photo-collage albums were often long-term projects that required a lot of time and effort.

Kate Edith Gough (neé Hoare) was one of fourteen children and was born in Surbiton, Surrey, in 1856. Her father Thomas had a successful paint and varnish business which enabled the Hoares a comfortable middle-class status. When Kate was 23 she married Hugh Gough, a Royal Navy officer who served in the late 1870s. Her husband was often away and she had no children, so Gough spent much of her time with her sisters. They visited art exhibitions and theatres in London, and regularly travelled abroad.

Gough’s sister, Ethel, kept detailed diaries which are a rich source of information about Gough’s life. Together, they participated in various activities such as sketching, lawn tennis and horse riding. These experiences in her daily life inspired the painted stages and narratives of the photo-collages in this album. Like her fellow upper-class woman of the late 1800s, Gough pasted images of her family and surroundings onto the album’s pages, whilst referencing popular thought and literature. The album remained in her care until her death in 1948. It was donated to the V&A by her nephew in 1963.


Hudak, Brittany. “Assembling identity: The photo-collage album of Kate E. Gough (1856-1948)” Master’s thesis, University of Cincinnati, 2004.
Siegel, Elizabeth. Playing with Pictures – The Art of Victorian Photocollage. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2009.
Weiss, Marta. “Dressed Up and Pasted Down: Staged Photography in the Victorian Album” PhD diss., Princeton University, 2008.

Physical description

A photographic album containing 56 pages depicting photo-collages and watercolour drawings.


ca. 1870 (photographed)


Gough, Kate E., born 1856 - died 1948 (photographer)


Height: 373 mm Album cover, Width: 285 mm Album cover

Descriptive line

Photo-collage from album of photographs belonging to Mrs. Kate Edith Gough, 'aunt of donor, the wife of Capt. Hugh Gough, R.N.'. See Nominal File 63/2335.

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

See Nominal File 63/2335


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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