Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F

model of the proposed South Kensington Museum buildings, completed according to the plans of Henry Scott, front elevation

Photograph
1869 (photographed), 1870 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Photographs and photographers were present from the very beginning of the V&A's history and the Museum has an extensive collection of images from the 1850s through to the present which documents the construction and development of the V&A and the South Kensington site.

Originally collected by the National Art Library as part of a programme to record works of art, architecture and design in the interest of public education, these topographic and architectural views were valued as records and as source material for students of architecture and design. As well as being crucial records of the history of the V&A, and an important element within the National Art Library's visual encyclopaedia, these photographs are also significant artefacts in the history of the art of photography.

Isabel Cowper was the sister of the South Kensington Museum's first official photographer, Charles Thurston Thompson (1816-1868) and of the Superintendent of the Museum, Richard A. Thompson. Little is known about Cowper, but in her letter of resignation in 1891, she refers to herself as the Museum's 'Official Photographer', having taken up the position after the death of her brother. As such, she is an important part of the early history of V&A and a seminal figure behind the Museum’s early uptake of photography to document the arts.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Albumen print
Brief Description
Photograph by Isabel Cowper, model of the proposed South Kensington Museum buildings, completed according to the plans of Henry Scott, front elevation, albumen print, 1869
Physical Description
A photograph of a model for a building mounted on card.
Dimensions
  • Image height: 7.4cm
  • Image width: 34.4cm
  • Mount height: 34.4cm
  • Mount width: 47.0cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'Architecture etc, England & Wales / IIaa / London: South Kensington / Victoria & Albert Museum / DESIGN FOR COMPLETING THE SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM, 1870 CROMWELL ROAD' (ink, printing, pencil, mount)
  • library stamp (blindstamp, upper centre mount)
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Association
Summary
Photographs and photographers were present from the very beginning of the V&A's history and the Museum has an extensive collection of images from the 1850s through to the present which documents the construction and development of the V&A and the South Kensington site.



Originally collected by the National Art Library as part of a programme to record works of art, architecture and design in the interest of public education, these topographic and architectural views were valued as records and as source material for students of architecture and design. As well as being crucial records of the history of the V&A, and an important element within the National Art Library's visual encyclopaedia, these photographs are also significant artefacts in the history of the art of photography.



Isabel Cowper was the sister of the South Kensington Museum's first official photographer, Charles Thurston Thompson (1816-1868) and of the Superintendent of the Museum, Richard A. Thompson. Little is known about Cowper, but in her letter of resignation in 1891, she refers to herself as the Museum's 'Official Photographer', having taken up the position after the death of her brother. As such, she is an important part of the early history of V&A and a seminal figure behind the Museum’s early uptake of photography to document the arts.

Collection
Accession Number
68703

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record createdJuly 1, 2009
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