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Photograph - South Kensington Museum, Educational Collection(?), showing School Furniture and Apparatus
  • South Kensington Museum, Educational Collection(?), showing School Furniture and Apparatus
    Cowper, Isabel Agnes, born 1826 - died 1911
  • Enlarge image

South Kensington Museum, Educational Collection(?), showing School Furniture and Apparatus

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    South Kensington Museum (photographed)

  • Date:

    ca. 1868 (photographed)
    19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cowper, Isabel Agnes, born 1826 - died 1911 (photographer)
    Department of Science and Art of the Committee of Council on Education (commissioned by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print

  • Museum number:

    67058

  • Gallery location:

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

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.

Physical description

A photograph of a long narrow gallery with skylights running the length of the ceiling. In the far distance is a sign: 'Educational Collection'. On display are school desks and chairs, framed prints, plaster casts.

Place of Origin

South Kensington Museum (photographed)

Date

ca. 1868 (photographed)
19th century (made)

Artist/maker

Cowper, Isabel Agnes, born 1826 - died 1911 (photographer)
Department of Science and Art of the Committee of Council on Education (commissioned by)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print

Dimensions

Height: 33 cm mount, Width: 23.5 cm mount

Descriptive line

Photograph by Isabel Agnes Cowper, South Kensington Museum (the 'Brompton Boilers'), Educational Collection(?), showing School Furniture and Apparatus, albumen print, ca. 1868

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Albumen process

Subjects depicted

Desk chairs; Museums; Galleries (display spaces); Desks

Categories

Photographs; Architecture; History of the V&A; Photographs of plaster casts

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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