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Photograph - The Poacher
  • The Poacher
    Emerson, Peter Henry, born 1856 - died 1936
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The Poacher

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    East Anglia (photographed)
    England (photographed)

  • Date:

    1882-1888 (photographed)
    1890 (published)
    1888 (published)
    1890 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Emerson, Peter Henry, born 1856 - died 1936 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Presented by Mr. P. H. Emerson on 18 July, 1890

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 418, box B

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.

Despite being illegal, Emerson sympathised with those in East Anglia who engaged in poaching and wrote, ‘if the farmer paid them better there would be less poaching’. This image reveals that despite his claims against retouching or altering photographs, Emerson removed the tail of the greyhound, which appears in the version of the same image he printed in the book Pictures of East Anglian Life (1888).

Physical description

A mounted black and white photograph showing a man with a dog

Place of Origin

East Anglia (photographed)
England (photographed)


1882-1888 (photographed)
1890 (published)
1888 (published)
1890 (published)


Emerson, Peter Henry, born 1856 - died 1936 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 28.5 cm image, Width: 23.8 cm image, Height: 42.5 cm paper, Width: 34 cm paper

Object history note

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

Descriptive line

Photograph, 'The Poacher', by Peter Henry Emerson, photogravure, Plate 2, from the 'Pictures of East Anglian Life' portfolio, 1890

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

Hoozee, Robert (ed.), British Vision. Observation and Imagination in British Art 1750-1950, Brussels : Mercatorfonds ; Ghent : Museum voor Schone Kunsten, 2007
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.

Subjects depicted

Dogs (animals)




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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