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South Kensington Museum with shed, ladder and sapper

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    South Kensington Museum (photographed)

  • Date:

    1856 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Thompson, Charles Thurston, born 1816 - died 1868 (photographer)
    Department of Science and Art of the Committee of Council on Education (commissioned by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

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 an exterior view of a shed surrounded by trees and construction debris. A ladder leans against the facade. A sapper (Royal Engineer) is visible at the entrance

Place of Origin

South Kensington Museum (photographed)


1856 (photographed)


Thompson, Charles Thurston, born 1816 - died 1868 (photographer)
Department of Science and Art of the Committee of Council on Education (commissioned by)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print

Marks and inscriptions

'A.b. London'
classification system label

ink, upper centre mount

library stamp
blindstamp, only small portion visible, upper centre mount

'South Kensington'
ink, lower left mount


Height: 23.5 cm image, Width: 29.4 cm image, Height: 26.8 cm mount, Width: 33.2 cm mount, Height: 38.2 cm mount, Width: 53.6 cm mount

Descriptive line

Mounted albumen print, Charles Thurston Thompson, South Kensington Museum with shed, ladder and sapper, 1856

Labels and date

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

Charles Thurston Thompson (1816–68)
South Kensington Museum Construction Site
About 1856

Construction of the South Kensington Museum began in early 1856. Here Thurston Thompson shows preparations on the site for the new building.

Albumen print
Museum no. 33:954
[06 03 2014]


Photographic paper


Albumen process; Photography

Subjects depicted

Ladders; Museums; Military engineers; Sheds


Photographs; Architecture; History of the V&A


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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