Fair

Photograph
early 20th century (photographed)
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On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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 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.
At the seaside resort of Ostend, Belgium, Pitcairn-Knowles combined his passion for sports and games with his interest in people and their customs. He recorded all kinds of leisure activities on and near the beach: the motor races, dog races, shrimpers, and children riding sand yachts.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleDog racing - Belgium Ostend? (series title)
Brief Description
'Fair', photograph by Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles, probably Ostend, early 20th century.
Physical Description
A photograph of a crowd gathered around a small air-balloon. In the background there is a merry-go-round, in the foreground a girl with her back to the camera and a bicycle.
Dimensions
  • Height: 16.4cm
  • Width: 12.0cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • '014/13' (Donor's reference, verso, pencil.)
  • '0144701' (Topham Picture Library reference number, verso, pencil.)
  • 'A. PITCAIRN-KNOWLES, / RIPSO, / ST. HELEN'S PARK / HASTINGS' (Verso, stamp.)
  • 'REPRODUCTION INTERDITE / COPYRIGHT' (Verso, stamp.)
Credit line
Purchased through the Cecil Beaton Royalties Fund
Object history
Pitcairn-Knowles Archive purchased from Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles' grandson Richard Pitcairn-Knowles.
Historical context
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 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.

At the seaside resort of Ostend, Belgium, Pitcairn-Knowles combined his passion for sports and games with his interest in people and their customs. He recorded all kinds of leisure activities on and near the beach: the motor races, dog races, shrimpers, and children riding sand yachts.
Subjects depicted
Summary
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 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.

At the seaside resort of Ostend, Belgium, Pitcairn-Knowles combined his passion for sports and games with his interest in people and their customs. He recorded all kinds of leisure activities on and near the beach: the motor races, dog races, shrimpers, and children riding sand yachts.
Bibliographic Reference
Pitcairn-Knowles, Richard. The Edwardian eye of Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles 1871-1056. Sussex: The Book Guild Ltd, 2000. Pitcairn-Knowles, Andrew, ’Kermis Time in Belgium’ in World Wide Magazine, vol. XXXV, no. 209, August 1915, p. 404-410.
Other Numbers
  • 014/13 - Donor's reference
  • 0144701 - Topham Picture Library reference number
Collection
Accession Number
E.3468-2004

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record createdMay 3, 2006
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