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Photograph - Hairpin


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (made)

  • Date:

    1993 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Gregory, Joy, born 1959 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Supported by the Friends of the V&A

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 936, box A

Critical of the pressure the fashion and beauty press place on women to be "young, thin and conventionally beautiful regardless of our natural features" (Gregory, 2004), in 1993 Joy Gregory produced a series of photographs of the objects women use every day to make themselves more attractive. As well as this hairpin, the ‘Objects of Beauty’ series includes a corset, a comb, false eyelashes, curlers, jewellery, stockings and lace knickers. Each object is photographed on its own and printed as a calotype, a photographic process which was popular in the nineteenth century and which is characterised by subtle tonal differences. These formal qualities give the individual objects an iconic status and ironically, they themselves become beautiful in their still-life guises. Furthermore, the aged feel of the calotype print suggests that the tyranny of feminine beauty has existed for far too long.

Physical description

A Kallitype photograph depicting a hairpin.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (made)


1993 (made)


Gregory, Joy, born 1959 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 31.5 cm, Width: 30.5 cm, Height: 49 cm, Width: 39 cm

Descriptive line

Photograph by Joy Gregory, 'Hairpin' from the series 'Objects of Beauty', kallitype, 1993

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

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints, Drawings and Paintings Accession Register for 1995


Photographic paper



Subjects depicted

Beauty; Hairpins


Photographs; Accessories; Hair and hairstyles


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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