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Photograph of ferns

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Lingholm (Keswick) (possibly, photographed)

  • Date:

    ca. 1890 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Joan Duke

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 44, box A

Rupert Potter (1832-1914), father of the children's writer and illustrator Beatrix Potter (1866-1943), took up photography in the 1860s when it was still a relatively new art form. An enthusiastic and skilled amateur, he was elected to the Photographic Society of London in 1869 and later contributed to photographic exhibitions. Rupert assisted the artist Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896), a close friend, by photographing backgrounds for paintings and sitters for portraits. His favourite subject, however, was Beatrix herself and his prolific legacy of several hundred photographs forms a broad pictorial account of her life from infancy to marriage.

Rupert was also a skilled landscape photographer. During the Potter family's extended summer holidays to Scotland and the Lake District it was Beatrix's delight to accompany her father on photographic expeditions. He photographed in particular the countryside around Eastwood in Dunkeld, Wray Castle near Ambleside and Lingholm on the edge of Derwentwater. This photograph of ferns was possibly taken in the grounds of Lingholm, a favourite summer retreat of the Potter family in the late 1890s.

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.

Physical description

Sepia photograph of low-lying ferns and rocks.

Place of Origin

Lingholm (Keswick) (possibly, photographed)


ca. 1890 (photographed)


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

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Printed on bottom left of photograph


Height: 152 mm, Width: 203 mm

Object history note

Photograph taken by Rupert Potter, ca. 1890.

Descriptive line

Photograph of ferns; albumen print by Rupert Potter (1832-1914), ca. 1890.


Photographic paper



Subjects depicted

Nature photography; Natural landscapes; Natural history; Rock; Ferns; Plants; Leaf (plant material)




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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