Flowers of the Mere

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’.

A little village girl sits in her father’s ‘marsh-boat’, binding water-lilies together and placing them carefully in her basket. ‘So early in life do the children of the broads learn to manage a boat’, comments Emerson. He explains that in what seems a placid, leisurely scene the young girl is in fact working by preparing the water-lilies to sell at the Norwich market.


object details
Category
Object Type
Additional TitleIdyls of the Norfolk Broads (series title)
Materials and Techniques
Photogravure
Brief Description
Photograph, 'Flowers of the Mere', by Peter Henry Emerson, photogravure, Plate 4, from the 'Idyls of the Norfolk Broads' portfolio, 1887
Physical Description
A photogravure of a girl with water lily
Dimensions
  • Image height: 7.2cm
  • Image width: 7.2cm
  • Paper height: 43.3cm
  • Paper width: 34cm
  • Image height: 15.9cm
  • Image width: 12.2cm
Styles
Credit line
Found In Department
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’.



A little village girl sits in her father’s ‘marsh-boat’, binding water-lilies together and placing them carefully in her basket. ‘So early in life do the children of the broads learn to manage a boat’, comments Emerson. He explains that in what seems a placid, leisurely scene the young girl is in fact working by preparing the water-lilies to sell at the Norwich market.

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.2227-1990

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record createdFebruary 23, 2009
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