Idyls of the Norfolk Broads

Photograph
1887 (published)
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This 1887 portfolio is a poetic portrayal of East Norfolk. Emerson depicts the region as an ‘earthly paradise’ that is in harmony with the changing seasons; from the pleasure of men contemplating the forthcoming harvest in Spring, to the silence of landscape in the snowy Winter, viewers can experience the peacefulness of pastoral life for themselves.
Emerson was particularly rigorous about printing processes and technical excellence. He favoured a photomechanical process called photogravure (or what he also referred to as ‘autogravure’, ‘copper plate engraving’ and ‘photo-etching’) for its ‘subtlety and delicacy’.
He describes the 12 images within this portfolio as ‘printed from copper plates’ reproduced from his original negatives that were ‘taken directly from Nature’ – being faithful to what the lens had captured rather than creating artificial composites in the studio or dark room. He also specifies that in the process of reproduction ‘no retouching has marred the subtleties of Nature’s handiwork’.

Emerson depicts men cutting plants that grow on the river-banks, dikes, and rough land of the marshes. These plants were used for various agricultural purposes, and the harvested ‘sedge’ was transported on a large reed-boat. Emerson observes: ‘It is a beautiful sight to watch the slowly-gliding boat with its heavy load being laboriously pulled through the water-ways by these stalwart oarsmen’.


object details
Category
Object Type
Additional TitleThe Sedge Harvest (assigned by artist)
Materials and Techniques
photogravure
Brief Description
Photograph, 'The Sedge Harvest', by Peter Henry Emerson, photogravure, Plate 7, from the 'Idyls of the Norfolk Broads' portfolio, 1887
Physical Description
A mounted black and white photograph on India paper showing 3 men harvesting sedge in the background
Dimensions
  • Image height: 14.3cm
  • Image width: 25.1cm
  • Paper height: 34cm
  • Paper width: 43.3cm
Styles
Credit line
Presented by P.H. Emerson on 27 March, 1888
Subjects depicted
Summary
This 1887 portfolio is a poetic portrayal of East Norfolk. Emerson depicts the region as an ‘earthly paradise’ that is in harmony with the changing seasons; from the pleasure of men contemplating the forthcoming harvest in Spring, to the silence of landscape in the snowy Winter, viewers can experience the peacefulness of pastoral life for themselves.

Emerson was particularly rigorous about printing processes and technical excellence. He favoured a photomechanical process called photogravure (or what he also referred to as ‘autogravure’, ‘copper plate engraving’ and ‘photo-etching’) for its ‘subtlety and delicacy’.

He describes the 12 images within this portfolio as ‘printed from copper plates’ reproduced from his original negatives that were ‘taken directly from Nature’ – being faithful to what the lens had captured rather than creating artificial composites in the studio or dark room. He also specifies that in the process of reproduction ‘no retouching has marred the subtleties of Nature’s handiwork’.



Emerson depicts men cutting plants that grow on the river-banks, dikes, and rough land of the marshes. These plants were used for various agricultural purposes, and the harvested ‘sedge’ was transported on a large reed-boat. Emerson observes: ‘It is a beautiful sight to watch the slowly-gliding boat with its heavy load being laboriously pulled through the water-ways by these stalwart oarsmen’.

Bibliographic Reference
John Taylor The old order and the new: P H Emerson and photography, 1885-1895 Munich; New York; London: Prestel, 2006. 160p.: ill (some col). ISBN: 3791336991 / 9783791336992.
Collection
Accession Number
E.144-2015

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record createdMay 11, 2015
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