Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F , Case X, Shelf 33H, Box XVII

Isabella Grace, Clementina and Elphinstone Agnes Maude on terrace, 5 Princes Gardens

Photograph
ca. 1863-1864 (photographed)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Lady Hawarden achieved a very short exposure with her large camera, managing to photograph her daughters and a puppy without any discernible movement. To do this she selected a wide aperture, which produced both a short exposure time and a shallow depth of field. Thus, the other sides of the London square onto which the balcony looked are all out of focus. This concentrates our attention on the little comedy enacted on the balcony. The eldest of the girls formally greets the puppy, while the youngest child looks gravely at the camera clutching an owl, the emblem of wisdom.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Additional titlePhotographic Study (series title)
Materials and techniques
Albumen print from wet collodion negative
Brief description
19thC; Hawarden C, D 620, 5 Princes Gardens, terrace, Isabella Grace, Clementina, Elphinstone Agnes, c. 1862-63
Physical description
Sepia photograph, mounted on green card, of three girls beside a balustrade
Dimensions
  • Height: 18.3cm
  • Width: 21.0cm
Style
Production typeUnlimited edition
Credit line
Given by Lady Clementina Tottenham
Historical context
From departmental notes



'Clementina, Lady Hawarden(Untitled) Photographic Study (or) Study from Life (D.620) c.1862-c.1863 5 Princes Gardens, exterior: terrace: Isabella Grace, seated, dress pulled up revealing petticoat, holding dachshund on lap; Clementina (left profile, face nearly hidden by hat), standing, left forefinger on tip of nose, right hand holding dog's paw; and Elphinstone Agnes, standing, holding bronze owl in her arms. Balustrade. View north over Princes Gate gardens: backs of houses in Princes Gate in background. Inscription (verso): No 5; Inscription (verso of mount): (X614-)5 183 x 210 mm PH 302-1947 Series 120 Literature: ed. Mark Haworth-Booth, The Golden Age of Briti Photography, 1984, p.124 (bottom). Microfilm: 3.18.63; V&A Picture Library negative no. HG 208. Portrait Photography in Europe 1850-70, University Art Museum, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 1980-81; The Golden Age of British Photography (travelling exhibition), Victoria and Albert Museum, 1984-5. Lady Hawarden often used the terrace of the 5 Princes Garden] house as a background for her indoor scenes. Moving outdoors however, she capitalized on the broad, flat expanse of the terrace--actually a roof--and used it as a stage. Using a , large format camera and a lens with limited depth of field, I Lady Hawarden has here transformed the houses and trees , glimpsed over her daughters' shoulders into a soft-focus, grel backdrop. Before this the girls are grouped in a pyramidal , composition and linked as in a conversation piece, I communicating with each other by touch and with the spectator, through the little girl's gaze. Unfortunately, perhaps we ha~ lost the key to this slightly mysterious scene. Isabella .J Grace, well-groomed as always but not too fastidious to put the dog on her lap, and Elphinstone Agnes, as solemn as the bronze owl she hugs, form a solid base. Between them rises Clementina, almost disguised behind her tilted hat, lifted hand and all-embracing cloak. Her theatrical gestures seem to I gently mock her sisters' deportment. With one hand she grasps the dog's paw, much as she clasps her sisters' hands in other photographs. With the other hand she perhaps suppresses a giggle'
Production
Reason For Production: Exhibition

Reason For Production: Retail
Subjects depicted
Place depicted
Summary
Lady Hawarden achieved a very short exposure with her large camera, managing to photograph her daughters and a puppy without any discernible movement. To do this she selected a wide aperture, which produced both a short exposure time and a shallow depth of field. Thus, the other sides of the London square onto which the balcony looked are all out of focus. This concentrates our attention on the little comedy enacted on the balcony. The eldest of the girls formally greets the puppy, while the youngest child looks gravely at the camera clutching an owl, the emblem of wisdom.
Bibliographic reference
Literature: ed. Mark Haworth-Booth, The Golden Age of Briti Photography, 1984, p.124 (bottom). Microfilm: 3.18.63; V&A Picture Library negative no. HG 208.
Collection
Accession number
302-1947

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Record createdFebruary 22, 2004
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