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Venetian mirror circa 1700, from the collection of Mr. John Webb

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    London (photographed)

  • Date:

    1853 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Thompson, Charles Thurston, born 1816 - died 1868 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative

  • Museum number:

    39833

  • Gallery location:

    Photography, room 38a, case WW

Charles Thurston was the first official photographer employed by the South Kensington Museum. He was appointed in 1856 but photographed at the Museum in 1853. His subject here is a Venetian mirror lent to the Museum for an exhibition of 'Decorative Furniture' at Gore House, South Kensington. Such loan objects were photographed prior to their return to lenders so that photographic copies could be sold to designers, craftsmen and students, and also filed in the Museum's library for study. Thompson inadvertently included himself and his camera, reflected in the mirror. It gives us a vivid glimpse of a photographer at work outdoors - in the garden at Gore House - in the early days of the Museum and the profession of Museum Photography.

Physical description

Sepia photograph mounted on card showing an elaborate Venetian mirror placed against a white backdrop. A camera and photographer are reflected in the mirror with trees beyond

Place of Origin

London (photographed)

Date

1853 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Thompson, Charles Thurston, born 1816 - died 1868 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative

Marks and inscriptions

DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND ART / LIBRARY [with a crown]

Dimensions

Height: 22.8 cm, Width: 16.3 cm Image

Descriptive line

Photograph by Charles Thurston Thompson, 'Venetian mirror circa 1700, from the collection of Mr. John Webb', albumen print, 1853

Labels and date

Charles Thurston Thompson (1816–68)
Venetian Mirror, about 1700
Carved and Gilt Frame, Venetian,
date about 1690
Both 1853

Thurston Thompson was the first official
photographer of the South Kensington Museum
(the original name of the V&A). He documented
works that were on loan to the Museum, such as
this Venetian mirror. By recording his reflection
and that of his camera as well as the frame’s
intricate carvings, he revealed the process of
making images such as these.

Albumen prints
Museum nos. 39833, 32832 [23/7/2016-5/3/2017]

Materials

Photograph

Techniques

Albumen process

Subjects depicted

Thompson, Charles Thurston; Mirror; Camera

Categories

Clothing; Gardens & Gardening; Hats & headwear; Photographs; Tools & Equipment

Production Type

Unlimited edition

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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