South Kensington Museum - Educational Collections. Gallery containing examples of materials for iInstruction in Art

Photograph
1868-1869 (photographed)
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.

Isabel Cowper was the sister of the South Kensington Museum's first official photographer, Charles Thurston Thompson (1816-1868) and of the Superintendent of the Museum, Richard A. Thompson. Little is known about Cowper, but in her letter of resignation in 1891, she refers to herself as the Museum's 'Official Photographer', having taken up the position after the death of her brother. As such, she is an important part of the early history of V&A and a seminal figure behind the Museum’s early uptake of photography to document the arts.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Albumen print
Brief Description
Photograph by Isabel Cowper, South Kensington Museum (the 'Brompton Boilers'), Educational Museum, albumen print, 1868-69
Physical Description
A mounted albumen print of an exhibition space with display cases and framed prints covering the walls (some of the human muscular system and some female nudes). There are globes in the foreground and a sign over a door in the background: 'EDUCATIONAL COLLECTIONS'. On the mount is a descriptive label.
Dimensions
  • Image height: 154mm
  • Image width: 127mm
  • Card height: 331mm
  • Card width: 238mm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
  • South Kensington Museum - Educational Collection. / Gallery containing examples of materials for instruction in Art. No.9063 (Label under image.)
  • London: Victoria and Albert Museum. / Educational Collections (Inscribed bottom left.)
Gallery Label
Gallery 100 ‘A History of Photography’, 2014-2015, label text: Isabel Agnes Cowper (1826?–1911) The South Kensington Museum’s Educational Collection About 1870 The 1857 Museum included an Educational Collection, photographed here by Cowper. Materials used for ‘instruction in art’ reflect the idea that art could be taught as a practical discipline through the observation of laws and principles. The Museum also held scientific collections and educational material used in the instruction of science. In 1899, the collections were divided into the ‘Art Museum’ (the V&A) and what is now the Science Museum. Albumen prints Museum nos. 67:559, 67:060 (06 03 2014)
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Summary
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.



Isabel Cowper was the sister of the South Kensington Museum's first official photographer, Charles Thurston Thompson (1816-1868) and of the Superintendent of the Museum, Richard A. Thompson. Little is known about Cowper, but in her letter of resignation in 1891, she refers to herself as the Museum's 'Official Photographer', having taken up the position after the death of her brother. As such, she is an important part of the early history of V&A and a seminal figure behind the Museum’s early uptake of photography to document the arts.

Bibliographic Reference
Julius Bryant, ed. Art and Design for All. The Victoria and Albert Museum London: V&A Publishing, 2011. ISBN: 9781851776665.
Other Number
9063 - Negative number (V&A Archive Guard Book reference)
Collection
Accession Number
67559

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJuly 1, 2009
Record URL