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Bathing huts on wheels

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Belgium (photographed)

  • Date:

    1907-1908 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pitcairn-Knowles, Andrew, born 1871 - died 1956 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatine-silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased through the Cecil Beaton Royalties Fund

  • Museum number:

    E.3447-2004

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 980, box L

Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles (born Rotterdam 1871, died Hastings 1956) was a pioneering photographic journalist who published his work in the new illustrated magazines of the late 19th and early 20th century. From the turn of the century he travelled around Europe, living in Berlin, Brussels, Paris and Jersey. With his eye for detail, timing and geometry, he accurately captured the leisure activities, sports and customs of the period. Besides their documentary value, his photographs have a quirky and almost surreal quality.
Leisure time is the main theme of Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles’ work. It is his biggest interest as such and can also be found in his ‘sports photography’ (a term which in fact sometimes has been used including leisure activities like travel en picnicking) and to a lesser extent, in his photographs about customs. Leisure time emerged in the late nineteenth century in the industrialized West, which resulted in new forms of leisure activities. Pitcairn-Knowles was particularly interested in big organised festivities and events such as competitions like dog racing, horse racing, fairs, the derby, markets and the carnival. He photographed the higher classes as well as the lower classes: from neatly dressed ladies in a rabbit race contest to a boy catching rats for rat-baiting. In almost every series the spectators play a big role.

Physical description

This photograph shows two women hanging out the washing at the back of two huts on the beach.

Place of Origin

Belgium (photographed)

Date

1907-1908 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Pitcairn-Knowles, Andrew, born 1871 - died 1956 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Gelatine-silver print

Marks and inscriptions

'012/25'
Donor's reference, verso, pencil.

'0144639'
Topham picture library reference number, verso pencil.

'A. PITCAIRN-KNOWLES, / RIPOSO, / ST. HELEN'S PARK, / HASTINGS.'
Verso, stamp.

'REPRODUCTION INTERDITE / COPYRIGHT'
Verso, stamp.

Dimensions

Height: 12.0 cm, Width: 16.3 cm

Object history note

Pitcairn-Knowles Archive purchased from Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles' grandson Richard Pitcairn-Knowles.

Historical context note

Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles (born Rotterdam 1871, died Hastings 1956) was a pioneering photographic journalist who published his work in the new illustrated magazines of the late 19th and early 20th century. From the turn of the century he travelled around Europe, living in Berlin, Brussels, Paris and Jersey. With his eye for detail, timing and geometry, he accurately captured the leisure activities, sports and customs of the period. Besides their documentary value, his photographs have a quirky and almost surreal quality.
Leisure time is the main theme of Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles’ work. It is his biggest interest as such and can also be found in his ‘sports photography’ (a term which in fact sometimes has been used including leisure activities like travel en picnicking) and to a lesser extent, in his photographs about customs. Leisure time emerged in the late nineteenth century in the industrialized West, which resulted in new forms of leisure activities. Pitcairn-Knowles was particularly interested in big organised festivities and events such as competitions like dog racing, horse racing, fairs, the derby, markets and the carnival. He photographed the higher classes as well as the lower classes: from neatly dressed ladies in a rabbit race contest to a boy catching rats for rat-baiting. In almost every series the spectators play a big role.

Descriptive line

'Bathing huts on wheels', photograph by Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles, Belgium, 1907-1908.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Pitcairn-Knowles, Richard. The Edwardian eye of Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles 1871-1056. Sussex: The Book Guild Ltd, 2000.
Pitcairn-Knowles, Andrew, 'Oftend im Bade' in Die Woche, 1 September 1906.
Pitcairn-Knowles, Andrew, 'Oftenden Seezungen', in Die Woche, 30 November 1907.

Labels and date

While taking these photo g raphs Pi t c a i r n - K n owles was particularly
aware of pairs. This gives the photographs an uncanny atmosphere.
The effe ct is enhanced by the ghostlike appearance of the t wo
subjects: their faces are obscured and they wear white clothing.
Two bathing huts on wheels
Blankenberge, Belgium
About 1900
Museum no. E.3447-2004
Sitting inside the beach huts
Belgium
About 1900
Museum no. E.3473-2004 []
The Edwardian Eye of Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles (1871-1956)

Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles was a pioneering photographic journalist who published his work in the new illustrated magazines of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Born in Rotterdam, Pitcairn-Knowles travelled around Europe from the turn of the century, living in Berlin, Brussels, Paris and Jersey. With his eye for detail, timing and geometry, he captured the leisure activities, sports and customs of the period. Besides their documentary value, his photographs have a quirky and almost surreal quality.

Pitcairn-Knowles was a keen sportsman and in 1895 launched the sports magazine Sport im Bild (Sports Illustrated). Later, in 1911, he moved to England and opened a health resort in Sussex, but photography continued to play an important role in his life and work.

This selection is drawn from the V&A's 2004 acquisition of the photographer's archive. All the photographs are by Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles. His titles are in italics, those in roman were assigned by his grandson, Richard Pitcairn-Knowles. Unless otherwise stated, the photographs are vintage gelatin-silver prints (gaslight papers) made from gelatin dry plate glass negatives. []

Subjects depicted

Leisure; Beach; Washing; Beach houses

Categories

Photographs; Entertainment & Leisure

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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