A Toad in the Path - Early Spring in Norfolk

Photograph
1888 (made), 1890 (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

In 1889 Emerson published his controversial book Naturalistic Photography for Students of the Art without images. Naturalistic Photography examined his purist approach to photography, derived from his fascination with Naturalism in art, and attacked the prevailing artificial aesthetic in art photography. After its publication Emerson felt that his opponents had misunderstood his ideas. So, in 1890 he selected 10 plates from his book Pictures of East Anglian Life (1888) that best illustrated his theories, and presented them loose in a portfolio dedicated to the ‘photographic student’, with the same title and cover of the book. He then donated copies of this portfolio to every photographic society in the country.

Similar to the image The Skirt of the Village that features in the Idyls of the Norfolk Broads portfolio (published in 1887), here Emerson refers to something that cannot be seen. A toad, of which there is no presence in the print, has caught the attention of two children while they are walking. This image also shows Emerson’s predilection for photographing subjects who seem to be unaware of the presence of his camera.


object details
Category
Object Type
Additional TitlePictures of East Anglian Life (series title)
Brief Description
Photograph, 'A Toad in the Path - Early Spring in Norfolk', by Peter Henry Emerson, photogravure, Plate 9, from the 'Pictures of East Anglian Life' portfolio, 1890
Physical Description
A mounted black and white photograph showing 2 children in a path
Dimensions
  • Image height: 16cm
  • Image width: 26cm
  • Paper height: 32.5cm
  • Paper width: 42.2cm
Credit line
Found In Department
Object history
A portfolio containing 10 India proofs taken from the eponymous book (1888, 32 photogravures), published as a companion to his other book 'Naturalistic Photography for Students of the Art' (1889). With preface and Notes to the Student in the inside cover of the portfolio folder. Gift of the photographer 1890, transferred from the Print Collection, 1896
Subjects depicted
Summary
In 1889 Emerson published his controversial book Naturalistic Photography for Students of the Art without images. Naturalistic Photography examined his purist approach to photography, derived from his fascination with Naturalism in art, and attacked the prevailing artificial aesthetic in art photography. After its publication Emerson felt that his opponents had misunderstood his ideas. So, in 1890 he selected 10 plates from his book Pictures of East Anglian Life (1888) that best illustrated his theories, and presented them loose in a portfolio dedicated to the ‘photographic student’, with the same title and cover of the book. He then donated copies of this portfolio to every photographic society in the country.



Similar to the image The Skirt of the Village that features in the Idyls of the Norfolk Broads portfolio (published in 1887), here Emerson refers to something that cannot be seen. A toad, of which there is no presence in the print, has caught the attention of two children while they are walking. This image also shows Emerson’s predilection for photographing subjects who seem to be unaware of the presence of his camera.
Associated Objects
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.1958-1990

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record createdFebruary 23, 2009
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