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Photograph - Idyls of the Norfolk Broads
  • Idyls of the Norfolk Broads
    Emerson, Peter Henry, born 1856 - died 1936
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Idyls of the Norfolk Broads

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    East Anglia (photographed)
    England (photographed)

  • Date:

    1887 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Emerson, Peter Henry, born 1856 - died 1936 (photographer)
    The Autotype Fine Art Company Limited. (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    photogravure

  • Credit Line:

    Presented by P.H. Emerson on 27 March, 1888

  • Museum number:

    E.155-2015

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 418, box D

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’.

Physical description

A mounted black and white photograph on India paper showing 3 men harvesting sedge in the background

Place of Origin

East Anglia (photographed)
England (photographed)

Date

1887 (published)

Artist/maker

Emerson, Peter Henry, born 1856 - died 1936 (photographer)
The Autotype Fine Art Company Limited. (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

photogravure

Dimensions

Height: 14.3 cm image, Width: 25.1 cm image, Height: 34 cm paper, :, Width: 43.3 cm paper

Descriptive line

Photograph, 'The Sedge Harvest', by Peter Henry Emerson, photogravure, Plate 7, from the 'Idyls of the Norfolk Broads' portfolio, 1887

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

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.

Techniques

Photography

Subjects depicted

Subject; Peasants; Harvest

Categories

Photographs

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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