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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1898 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Platinum print

  • Credit Line:

    The Ashton Collection

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122c, case 2

Object Type
This photograph is taken from a family photograph album. Most of the photographs in it are printed on platinum paper, which was introduced in 1879. Such a photograph was expensive to produce and enjoyed for its delicate tonal gradations and matt surface.

Ownership & Use
This family photograph album contains single and group portraits and depictions of sports and pastimes that would have amused family, friends and visitors. It is a personal keepsake and document of a wealthy family of the 1890s. Many Victorian and Edwardian family photograph albums such as these were acquired by the V&A in the 1950s and 60s to show examples of the dress of that period.

Social Class
Throughout most of the 19th century women had few legal rights to property, money, children, or even, after marriage, their own bodies. However, there were great changes in attitudes during the last decade of the century. The traditional role of women was questioned and some women openly defied convention. They educated themselves by reading widely and took up what were seen as 'un-ladylike' activities such as smoking and cycling. The free movement of the bicycle was seen as a symbol of equality and personal freedom.

Physical description


Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1898 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Platinum print


Height: 27.5 cm album, Width: 80 cm album open

Object history note

Taken in Britain by an unknown photographer

Descriptive line

Photograph in a family photograph album of girls on bikes

Labels and date

British Galleries:
You press the button, we do the rest' was the advertising slogan of the photographic firm Kodak. Small, light cameras and factory processing of negatives produced enthusiastic and inventive amateur photographers.This album celebrates such new, 'un-ladylike' pastimes as photography and cycling. The invention of the safety bicycle with air-filled tyres started a cycling craze in the 1890s. [27/03/2003]




Photographs; Feminism; British Galleries


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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