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Carved and Gilt frame, Venetian, date about 1690

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (photographed)

  • Date:

    1853 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Thompson, Charles Thurston, born 1816 - died 1868 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 37, box D

In 1853, Charles Thurston Thompson, the first Official Photographer of the South Kensington Museum (later the V&A), was commissioned to photograph a loan exhibition of furniture at Gore House, London. It was the first of many photographic campaigns documenting temporary loan exhibitions that were to become a hallmark of the Museum's photographic service. Such loan objects were photographed prior to their return to lenders so that photographic copies could be sold to designers, craftsmen and students, and also filed in the Museum's library for study. Thompson inadvertently included himself and his camera, reflected in the mirror. It gives us a vivid glimpse of a photographer at work outdoors - in the garden at Gore House - in the early days of the Museum and the profession of Museum Photography.

Physical description

A sepia-colured photograph of the top half of a ornately carved gilded mirror mounted. In the reflection is visible a camera on a tripod and the operator of the camera.

Place of Origin

London (photographed)


1853 (photographed)


Thompson, Charles Thurston, born 1816 - died 1868 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print

Marks and inscriptions

'Photographed by C. Thurston Thompson from the original exhibited at the / Exhgibition of Ancient Furniture held at Gore House Kensington, 1852 / FOR THE USE OF THE SCHOOLS OF SCIENCE AND ART / Carved and gilt frame Venetian date about 1690'
ink, lower centre mount

'Department of Science and Art Library'
blindstamp, upper centre mount

'F 7521'
ink stamp, upper right mount

'Venetian frame. c. 1690'
ink, upper left mount


Height: 29.2 cm mount, Width: 38.7 cm mount

Descriptive line

Photograph by Charles Thurston Thompson, 'Carved and Gilt frame, Venetian, date about 1690, albumen print, 1853

Labels and date

Cast Courts Reinstallation, 27 November 2018

'Mirror Frame. Carved And Gilt, Venetian,

Date About 1690'
Charles Thurston Thompson, 1853

Charles Thurston Thompson was one of the world's earliest museum photographers. Henry Cole, the first director of the South Kensington Museum, appointed him officially in 1856, although he had already been working for the Museum for several years. Here Thurston Thompson's accidental reflection appears in a mirror belonging to the collector, John Webb. Thurston Thompson photographed the mirror while documenting a loan exhibition of furniture at Gore House, Kensington, in 1853.

Albumen print
Kensington, London
Museum no. 33588 [27 November 2018]




Photography; Albumen process

Subjects depicted

Photographers; Cameras; Mirrors




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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