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

Frederic, Lord Leighton

Photograph
1860s (photographed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Albumen prints were the first glossy, coated photographic prints. They were in general use from about 1855 to 1890. They were made from thin paper, which was first coated with a mixture of whisked albumen (egg white) and salt, then sensitized with silver nitrate. This print was made from a glass negative.

Materials & Making
Wynfield's method was to adjust the camera until the image was slightly out of focus. This softened the image, in contrast to the sharper commercial portraits of the time.

People
Frederic Leighton became President of the Royal Academy in 1878. He painted historical subjects that depicted a Victorian version of the classical or Renaissance past. Wynfield photographed artists dressed in historical costumes of a period that often cleverly matched the interests or character of the sitter.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
albumen print from wet-collodion glass-plate negative
Brief Description
Photograph, portrait of Frederic, Lord Leighton
Physical Description
Mounted on card printed with toned border.
Dimensions
  • Height: 33cm
  • Width: 26.2cm
Gallery Label
British Galleries: D.W. Wynfield was a painter of historical and biblical subjects. He took up photography in the 1860s, using his fellow artists as the subject of his photographs. Frederic Leighton (1830-1896), pictured here in Renaissance-style costume, was one of the leading artists of the Royal Academy.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Given by Dr Harold G. Hodgson
Object history
One of 16 photographs [125 to 136 and 197-1945] of Victorian painters and illustrators, most members of the Royal Academy, in fancy dress, ca. 1860s.

Provenance: By descent to J E Hodgson, Dr Harold Hodgson. Letter, Hodgson to the V&A, Dec 18 1944: "I have included some photographs of artists - contemporaries of my father, in fancy dress that were taken by David Wynfield, an artist, one of the St John's Wood Clique - unfortunately, at this distance can't put names to them all." Records indicate the original gift comprised of 13 photographs. It is not clear if 126a, 136a and 197 were part of the original gift, although the donor's father is included in the additional group.

Note: Wynfield, the great-nephew of the Scottish painter Sir David Wilkie, was a painter of historical genre and a foundling member of the St John's Wood Clique in the early 1860s. Other members of this group included Philip Calderon, William Yeames, John Hodgson and John Philip, who are all represented in this collection of portraits. The Clique members shared an interest in historical genre, and often held fancy dress gatherings. Several of Wynfield's fancy dress portraits of his artist friends are registered in the copyright office, as of December 1863, indicating that he was involved with photography from the earliest days of the Clique's formation. He was the only member of the Clique not elected to the Royal Academy. Stylistically, his work recalls that of Julia Margaret Cameron, with whom he was acquainted.



Note: Prints #1 and #2 in the Royal Academy group show Leighton in different fancy dress. Another print from the same negative is in the National Portrait Gallery.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Object Type
Albumen prints were the first glossy, coated photographic prints. They were in general use from about 1855 to 1890. They were made from thin paper, which was first coated with a mixture of whisked albumen (egg white) and salt, then sensitized with silver nitrate. This print was made from a glass negative.

Materials & Making
Wynfield's method was to adjust the camera until the image was slightly out of focus. This softened the image, in contrast to the sharper commercial portraits of the time.

People
Frederic Leighton became President of the Royal Academy in 1878. He painted historical subjects that depicted a Victorian version of the classical or Renaissance past. Wynfield photographed artists dressed in historical costumes of a period that often cleverly matched the interests or character of the sitter.
Bibliographic Reference
D W W application for copyright at the Public Records Office, Kew, 8 Dec 1868: "Frederick Leighton in Italian Medieval costume".
Collection
Accession Number
133-1945

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMarch 27, 2003
Record URL