Monday, September 22, 2014


Roger Fenton (1819-1869) is mainly remembered today for documenting the Crimean War with his camera in the 1850s. He also documented the family and person and domains of Queen Victoria. Above, two poetical-heroical views of Windsor Castle. Below a series of sittings by the royal couple in 1854.

Below, Fenton produced both sepia-toned and hand-colored prints from his glass-plate negative of Victoria and Albert in court dress following one of their 1854 Drawing Rooms at Buckingham Palace. According to the Royal Collection, these were the first photographs of a British monarch enacting an official role.

Fenton's view of the Long Walk at Windsor (below) calls to mind the more familiar views made by Atget in the royal parks of France a few decades later. Yet in England, compared to France, the artificial landscapes of privilege remained relatively bucolic.

Finally, Fenton photographed the royal children  pursuing that favorite indoor Victorian upper-class amusement, the tableau vivant. Immediately below, eldest daughter Victoria trying her best to make baby Arthur hold still. Simultaneously she attempts to lounge gracefully on leopard-skin as the personification of Spring.

Prince Alfred (above, wearing a flesh-colored leotard and more leopard-skin) represented Autumn. The small Prince of Wales (below) assumed the role of Winter.