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Photograph - Infantile paralysis; child walking on hands and feet
  • Infantile paralysis
    Muybridge, Eadweard, born 1830 - died 1904
  • Enlarge image

Infantile paralysis; child walking on hands and feet

  • Object:


  • Date:

    1887 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Muybridge, Eadweard, born 1830 - died 1904 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 326, box H

Object Type
This sequence of photographs is one plate out of 781 that form Eadweard Muybridge's series Animal Locomotion , published by the University of Pennsylvania, USA, in 1887.

Ownership & Use
The South Kensington Museum (later the V&A) subscribed to Animal Locomotion at the time it was produced. Subscribers guaranteed an initial number of sales of an expensive work, thus ensuring that a publication was viable before production began. They included scientists and artists, as well as museums.

Eadweard Muybridge was the name adopted by the photographer Edward James Muggeridge (1830-1904). He was of British origin but lived and worked mostly in California, USA. He was already well known for his landscape views of the American West before making his famous series Animal Locomotion . He is also remembered today for his eventful personal life: in 1874 he shot dead the lover of his wife, was arrested, charged, imprisoned, brought to trial and finally acquitted.

Materials & Making
Exposures were made in rapid succession by means of threads attached to cameras placed about half a meter apart. The camera shutter was activated when the horse broke the thread while going past.


1887 (photographed)


Muybridge, Eadweard, born 1830 - died 1904 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques



Length: 32.7 cm sheet, Width: 26 cm sheet

Object history note

Eadweard Muybridge is most famous for his split-second studies of motion which began in 1872 with an attempt to capture the movement of a galloping horse. By 1877 he had developed a technique to place 12 cameras in a row to capture each stage of the horse’s movement. His books Animal Locomotion and The Human Figure in Motion made systematic studies of movement, and inspired artists in the twentieth century such as Francis Bacon. Later Muybridge experimented with a device to create moving images from still photographs, making him a pioneer of cinematography.

Descriptive line

Photograph by Eadweard Muybridge, 'Infantile paralysis' (from Animal Locomotion), collotype, 1887

Labels and date

Gallery 100, 2016-17:

Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904)
‘Man Performing Acrobatics’, ‘Woman Jumping a Hurdle’, ‘Man Performing Contortions’, ‘Infantile Paralysis’
From the series ‘Animal Locomotion’

Eadweard Muybridge became known for his split-second studies of the motion of animals and humans. He developed a technique involving 12 cameras to capture each stage of his subjects’ movement, anticipating the invention of cinema. Muybridge’s systematic images include bodies pushed to extremes, either through necessity or choice.

Museum nos. Ph.1026, 669, 1024, 1053-1889 []



Subjects depicted



Photographs; Photographic Studies


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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