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photograph - Photograph of Walter Potter, Rupert Potter and Beatrix Potter
  • Photograph of Walter Potter, Rupert Potter and Beatrix Potter
    Potter, Rupert, born 1832 - died 1914
  • Enlarge image

Photograph of Walter Potter, Rupert Potter and Beatrix Potter

  • Object:

    photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Eeswyke (Probably., photographed)

  • Date:

    6 October 1902 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Potter, Rupert, born 1832 - died 1914 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print on paper.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Joan Duke.

  • Museum number:

    AR.14:33-1893

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) is one of the world's best-loved children's authors and illustrators. She wrote the majority of the twenty-three Original Peter Rabbit Books between 1901 and 1913. The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Frederick Warne, 1902) is her most famous and best-loved tale.

An artist himself, Rupert Potter (1832-1914) was probably the single greatest influence on his daughter's enduring passion for the arts and natural history and on her development as a writer and illustrator. Rupert took up photography in the 1860s when it was still a relatively new art form and was elected to the Photographic Society of London in 1869. An enthusiastic and skilled amateur, he later contributed to photographic exhibitions. Closely observed by Beatrix, Rupert assisted Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896), a close friend, by photographing backgrounds for paintings and sitters for portraits. Excited by the possibilities of the new art form, Beatrix too became an avid photographer, inheriting one of her father’s old cameras, 'a most inconveniently heavy article which he refuses to use, and which has been breaking my back since I took to that profession' (Journal, Friday 19th April 1895). Beatrix went on to employ photography in the service of her own art and, like Millais, she photographed details, particularly in the Lake District landscapes, that she later incorporated in her imaginative book illustrations.

Rupert's favourite subject was Beatrix herself and during the family's extended summer holidays it was her delight to accompany her father on photographic expeditions. Rupert photographed his beloved daughter at home in London and on holidays in Scotland and the Lake District; formal and sombre among family and friends but relaxed and playful among her pets. Photography was an expensive and laborious process yet she appears to have endured patiently the elaborate choreography and the camera’s uncomfortably long exposure. Rupert's prolific legacy of several hundred photographs forms a broad pictorial account of Beatrix’s life from infancy to marriage.

Physical description

All three figures are seated in the corner of a garden with a wall to the left, a hedge immediately behind and a bush to the right; Bertram sits on the left of the photograph, Beatrix on the right and Rupert in the middle. Beatrix wears a large hat.

Place of Origin

Eeswyke (Probably., photographed)

Date

6 October 1902 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Potter, Rupert, born 1832 - died 1914 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print on paper.

Marks and inscriptions

'Oct 6 1902'
Pencil inscription by Rupert Potter on verso.

'Bertram Rupert H.B.P.'
Pencil inscription by Joan Duke on verso.

Dimensions

Height: 115 mm, Width: 160 mm

Object history note

Photographed by Rupert Potter on 6 October 1902. Photograph given to the Museum by Joan Duke in 1983.

Descriptive line

Photograph of Bertram Potter, Rupert Potter and Beatrix Potter in a garden, probably at Eeswyke, Near Sawrey; albumen print by Rupert Potter, 6 October 1902.

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Photography

Subjects depicted

Portraits

Categories

Portraits; Photographs

Collection

Archive of Art and Design

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