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By Rebecca Smith on

Researching female photographers in our archives

Thomas Galifot from the Musée d'Orsay recently visited our archives to research female photographers from 1839–1945 for a Paris exhibition.

Insight is our dedicated collections and research facility, and anyone is welcome to book a visit to study prints by some of the world’s greatest photographers or examine apparatus from our collection. We get requests from students, academics, museum professionals and members of the public.

In July, one of our visitors was Thomas Galifot, a curator at the Musée d’Orsay. He is researching and preparing an exhibition, scheduled to open in Paris in Autumn 2014, focusing on women photographers from 1839–1945.

Rebecca, c.1891, Eveleen Myers, The Royal Photographic Society Collection © National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
Rebecca, c.1891, Eveleen Myers © The Royal Photographic Society Collection 

Thomas was keen to see work from this period with a view to borrowing items from our collection for the show. He viewed work by famous names, such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Anna Atkins and Gertrude Käsebier, but also some lesser known photographers such as the Nevill sisters, an aristocratic trio who showed their work at the 1854 exhibition of the Photographic Society in London.

'St Margaret', c.1903, Emma Barton, The Royal Photographic Society Collection © National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
‘St Margaret’, c.1903, Emma Barton © The Royal Photographic Society Collection

Here’s a small selection from the hundreds of photographs Thomas viewed during his two days delving into the collection.

'Carlyle like a rough block of Michel Angelo's Sculpture', 1867, Julia Margaret Cameron, The Royal Photographic Society Collection © National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
‘Carlyle like a rough block of Michel Angelo’s Sculpture’, 1867, Julia Margaret Cameron © The Royal Photographic Society Collection
Cyanotype from 'Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns', 1853, Anna Atkins © National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
Cyanotype from ‘Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns’, 1853, Anna Atkins © Science Museum Group collection
Clementina Maude and Isabella Grace Maude, c.1862, Clementina Hawarden © National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
Clementina Maude and Isabella Grace Maude, c.1862, Lady Clementina Hawarden © Science Museum Group collection
'A Frugal Meal', date unknown, Minna Keene, The Royal Photographic Society Collection © National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
‘A Frugal Meal’, date unknown, Minna Keene © The Royal Photographic Society Collection
'Oak Tree in Erdige Park, Sussex', c.1856, Lady Henrietta Augusta Mostyn (née Nevill), The Royal Photographic Society Collection, © National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
‘Oak Tree in Erdige Park, Sussex’, c.1856, Lady Henrietta Augusta Mostyn (née Nevill) © The Royal Photographic Society Collection
'Allington Castle, Kent', c.1855, Lady Caroline Emily Nevill, The Royal Photographic Society Collection © National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
‘Allington Castle, Kent’, c.1855, Lady Caroline Emily Nevill © The Royal Photographic Society Collection
The Magic Crystal or The Crystal Gazer, c.1904, Gertrude Käsebier, The Royal Photographic Society Collection © National Media Museum, Bradford / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
The Magic Crystal or The Crystal Gazer, c.1904, Gertrude Käsebier © The Royal Photographic Society Collection

We don’t know yet which photographs will be shown in Paris, but I look forward to seeing the exhibition next year.

2 comments on “Researching female photographers in our archives

  1. Rebecca..this is a wonderful post and a great way of highlighting your amazing collection..hope you can do follow up blog about other interesting visitors and future researched exhibitions and may also add an approx. date/decade for the Minna Keene image

    1. Hello Terence. I’m very glad you liked the post (I’m fairly new to the blogosphere). Sorry I haven’t responded sooner – just organised my profile today to accompany the Fenton post. In answer to your comment, we don’t have a secure date for the Minna Keene image. The other Keenes in our collection range from 1904-1910 (where we have a date) so I have noted c.1908 as an indication. She’s also indicated in the RPS records from 1910-13. Best wishes

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