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Photograph - Exterior view of the roof of the South Kensington Museum ('the Brompton Boilers') under construction with the houses of Cromwell Road and Thurloe Square visible in the background
  • Exterior view of the roof of the South Kensington Museum ('the Brompton Boilers') under construction with the houses of Cromwell Road and Thurloe Square visible in the background
    Spackman, Benjamin L.
  • Enlarge image

Exterior view of the roof of the South Kensington Museum ('the Brompton Boilers') under construction with the houses of Cromwell Road and Thurloe Square visible in the background

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    South Kensington Museum (photographed)

  • Date:

    1856 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Spackman, Benjamin L. (Sergeant) (photographer)
    Royal Engineers (photographers)
    Department of Science and Art of the Committee of Council on Education (commissioned by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print

  • Museum number:

    34966

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 601, box 1

Photographs and photographers were present from the very beginning of the V&A's history and the Museum has an extensive collection of images from the 1850s through to the present which documents the construction and development of the V&A and the South Kensington site.

Originally collected by the National Art Library as part of a programme to record works of art, architecture and design in the interest of public education, these topographic and architectural views were valued as records and as source material for students of architecture and design. As well as being crucial records of the history of the V&A, and an important element within the National Art Library's visual encyclopaedia, these photographs are also significant artefacts in the history of the art of photography.

Physical description

A mounted albumen print of the roof of a building under construction. Four men are climbing among the roof framework. In the foreground, a single man holds the crank of a gantry. In the background is visible a man with a tophat and houses in the distance.

Place of Origin

South Kensington Museum (photographed)

Date

1856 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Spackman, Benjamin L. (Sergeant) (photographer)
Royal Engineers (photographers)
Department of Science and Art of the Committee of Council on Education (commissioned by)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print

Marks and inscriptions

'South Kensington
Victoria & Albert Museum
Lance Corp'l B.L. Spackman
R.S.M. 1856'
ink, mount

library stamp
blindstamp, partial, upper centre mount

'Progress of ROOF on 7th April 1856'
printed, lower centre mount

'NEG No 80119'
pencil, lower right mount

Dimensions

Height: 16.2 cm image, Width: 22.6 cm image, Height: 26.8 cm mount, Width: 33.0 cm mount, Height: 38.2 cm mount, Width: 53.1 cm mount

Descriptive line

Mounted albumen print, Lance Corpl. B.L. Spackman, exterior view, roof of South Kensington Museum (the 'Brompton Boilers) under construction, Cromwell Road and Thurloe Square houses visible in the background, 1856

Labels and date

Gallery 100 ' A History of Photography' 2014-2015, text label :

Lance Corporal Benjamin L. Spackman
(1834–unknown)
Exterior View of the Roof of the South Kensington Museum under Construction
7 April 1856

The new ‘iron house’ of the South Kensington Museum was designed by Prince Albert. Measuring 81 metres long and nine metres high, it was large enough to house three two-storey galleries. The striking symmetry of this image draws the viewer to the central figure. In the background, labourers appear to be tight-rope walking against a backdrop of Thurloe Square.

Albumen print
Museum no. 34:966 [06 03 2014]

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Albumen process

Subjects depicted

Museums; Top hats; Ladders

Categories

Photographs; Architecture; History of the V&A

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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