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Photograph - South Kensington Museum, Quadrangle:  the doorway and doors of the Lecture Theatre building
  • South Kensington Museum, Quadrangle: the doorway and doors of the Lecture Theatre building
    Cowper, Isabel Agnes, born 1826 - died 1911
  • Enlarge image

South Kensington Museum, Quadrangle: the doorway and doors of the Lecture Theatre building

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    South Kensington Museum (photographed)

  • Date:

    1875 (photographed)

  • 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:

    75957A

  • Gallery location:

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

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 photographe of a carved door made up of six panels surrounded by a carved stone frame.

Place of Origin

South Kensington Museum (photographed)

Date

1875 (photographed)

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: 22.9 cm image, Width: 16.0 cm image, Height: 33.0 cm mount, Width: 26.7 cm mount

Descriptive line

Photograph, Isabel Agnes Cowper, South Kensington Museum, Quadrangle: the doorway and doors of the Lecture Theatre building, albumen print, 1875

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Albumen process

Subjects depicted

Doors; Museums

Categories

Photographs; Architecture; History of the V&A

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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