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Anna Atkins (English, 1799-1871), "Gleichenia flabellata (Australia)," 1851-1854

Anna Atkins (English, 1799-1871)

"Gleichenia flabellata (Australia)," 1851-1854

Cyanotype

34.6 x 24.8 cm

 

Anna Atkins (1799-1871) is one of the earliest of women photographers. Her “Gleichenia flabellata (Australia),” circa 1851-1854, shows a fanlike, forked frond of this large Australasian fern. Atkins’s cyanotype photograms of the 1850s are distinctive precursors of the expressive photography of twentieth century and contemporary artists.

 

 

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Mary Wyatt (English, 1789–1871), From Algæ Danmonienses…, Torquay, 1834-1840

Mary Wyatt (English, 1789–1871)

From Algæ Danmonienses…, Torquay, 1834-1840

Specimen pasted onto 29.2 x 24.0 cm sheet

 

The extent to which artistically inclined Victorian women engaged in gathering specimens from nature has yet to be fully appreciated. Based on William Hooker’s British Flora of 1830, Algæ Danmonienses was compiled by Mary Wyatt 1789-1871), a former servant of the algae collector Amelia Griffiths. The high price of the book upon its publication in five volumes between 1834 and 1840, and its scarcity today speak to the limitations of working with seaweed specimens and the challenges of preserving them. Remarkably, William Harvey wrote that he intended his 1841 Manual of the British Algæ to be a companion volume to Wyatt's work and suggested to his readers that they acquire her book in lieu of illustrations.

 

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Anna Atkins (English, 1799-1871), "Aspidium Trifoliatum (Jamaica)," circa 1851-1854

Anna Atkins (English, 1799-1871)

"Aspidium Trifoliatum (Jamaica)," circa 1851-1854

Cyanotype photogram

24.9 x 19.5 cm

 

 

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Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born in India, 1815-1879), "Hypatia, Marie Spartali," 1867 or 1868

Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born in India, 1815-1879)

"Hypatia, Marie Spartali," 1867 or 1868

Albumen print from a wet collodion negative

31.9 x 24.8 cm

 

The model here presents a very different appearance from many of Cameron's other milkmaids and daughters of friends, perhaps because she herself was an artists' model and an accomplished watercolorist. Marie Euphrosyne Spartali was the daughter of the Greek consul in London. A pupil of the Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown, she first exhibited at the Dudley Gallery and in 1867, about the time of this photograph, she was admitted into the Royal Academy. Spartali married the American painter and photographer William James Stillman (1828-1901) in 1871. Before posing for Cameron, she had modeled for Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown and for Edward Burne-Jones.

 

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Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born in India, 1815-1879), "J. F. W. Herschel," April 1867

Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born in India, 1815-1879)

"J. F. W. Herschel," April 1867

Albumen print from a collodion negative

32.2 x 25.7 cm

 

Of all the preeminent figures Mrs. Cameron knew and photographed, she remained deeply indebted and loyal to Herschel, whom she had known since her childhood days at the Cape of Good Hope in 1836. Between 1864 and 1867 she made him an elaborate presentation album that included the best examples of her work. Her choice to have this portrait as the very first image pays affectionate homage to the role Herschel played in her life.

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Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born in India, 1815-1879), "Circe" Kate Keown, 1865

Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born in India, 1815-1879)

"Circe" Kate Keown, 1865

Albumen print

25.2 x 20.2 cm

 

Cameron sought to record through the faces of her family and friends the qualities of innocence, wisdom, piety, or passion ascribed to great biblical, historical, and legendary figures. Cameron used a long exposure and shallow depth of field to give that slight sense of animation which merges the young girl, Kate Keown, with the mythic character Circe, seemingly bringing her into the viewer's presence in this fine print.  In Greek mythology, Circe is a goddess of magic, the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and Perse, an Oceanid nymph. Renowned for her vast knowledge of potions and herbs, Circe is exiled to the solitary island of Aeaea by her father Helios for killing her husband. Once there she lures sailors to the island, including the crew of Odysseus, transforming them into swine.

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Blanche Shelley (English, 1841-1898), Daffodil and ferns, "April 18th 1854"

Blanche Shelley (English, 1841-1898)

Daffodil and ferns, "April 18th 1854"

Photogenic drawing negative

17.1 x 20.4 cm

 

The extent to which photography was practiced by artistically inclined Victorian women has yet to be fully appreciated. One young practitioner was Blanche Shelley. She was very distantly related to William Henry Fox Talbot through his half-sister, Caroline Feilding. Shelley’s family was drawn into this circle in 1834, so Blanche’s childhood years were ripe with the possibility of exposure to the new art. At age thirteen Blanche made her one known surviving photograph, “Daffodil and fern,” which is unusual for its having combined comparatively flat ferns with the three-dimensional daffodil.

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Bertha Wehnert-Beckmann (German, 1815-1901), "Dr. Reichel," 1868

Bertha Wehnert-Beckmann (German, 1815-1901)

"Dr. Reichel," 1868

Salt print from a collodion negative

28.3 x 22.5 cm

 

Bertha Wehnert-Beckmann was introduced to photography by her husband, the Leipzig daguerreotypist Eduard Wehnert who died in 1847. Bertha then emigrated in 1849 to New York City with her brother where she opened two studios. It was about this time she began making photographs on paper in addition to daguerreotypes. Upon receiving the American Institute in New York's award for services to portrait photography, Wehnert-Beckmann returned to Germany in 1851 after making over her NY studios to her brother. Her work was represented at the first major photographic exhibition in Germany, the General German Industrial Exhibition held in Munich in 1854. Bertha's innovative portraits, her use of modern advertising methods and her sound business sense won her great acclaim.

Inquire
Bertha Wehnert-Beckmann (German, 1815-1901), Portrait of woman holding a framed photograph, circa 1850s-1860s

Bertha Wehnert-Beckmann (German, 1815-1901)

Portrait of woman holding a framed photograph, circa 1850s-1860s

Salt print from a collodion negative

22.6 x 16.9 cm

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Attributed to Helen Mary Bagg (American, 1825-1897), Circular seaweed arrangement, circa 1885

Attributed to Helen Mary Bagg (American, 1825-1897)

Circular seaweed arrangement, circa 1885

Seaweed specimens pasted onto 25.7 x 20.2 cm paper

 

Helen Mary Merriam Bagg was a noted American naturalist and botanist based in upstate New York. According to its presentation inscriptions, the album belonged to her father Clinton Levi Merriam who, in 1885, gave the album to his daughter and Helen’s niece, Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey (1863-1948), the noted American ornithologist, nature writer and avian activist.  Both Florence and her brother Clinton Hart Merriam were encouraged to study natural history by Helen M. M. Bagg and by their parents. In 1934, Florence gifted the album to her own niece, Zenaida Merriam Talbot (1892-1979). These aesthetic arrangements, so skillfully prepared, suggest the hand of this dedicated, talented naturalist.

In the Northeast after the Civil War, women’s clubs were especially active studying and collecting plants. In his 1990 Taxon article, “Women Who Studied Plants in the Pre-Twentieth Century United States and Canada,” Emanuel D. Rudolf records Helen M. M. Bagg as active from 1878-1894.

 

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Bertha E. Jaques (American, 1863-1941), "Ground Pine, Northern Michigan," 1905-1915

Bertha E. Jaques (American, 1863-1941)

"Ground Pine, Northern Michigan," 1905-1915

Cyanotype photogram

24.2 x 19.0 cm

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Doris Ulmann (American, 1882-1934), Church group, circa 1920s

Doris Ulmann (American, 1882-1934)

Church group, circa 1920s

Platinum print

20.5 x 15.5 cm

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Doris Ulmann (American, 1882-1934), Field worker with two mules, circa 1920s

Doris Ulmann (American, 1882-1934)

Field worker with two mules, circa 1920s

Platinum print

20.4 x 15.5 cm

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Doris Ulmann (American, 1882-1934), Workers with cotton wagon, South Carolina, 1929-1930

Doris Ulmann (American, 1882-1934)

Workers with cotton wagon, South Carolina, 1929-1930

Platinum print

19.0 x 15.0 cm

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Anna Atkins (English, 1799-1871), "Gleichenia flabellata (Australia)," 1851-1854

Anna Atkins (English, 1799-1871)

"Gleichenia flabellata (Australia)," 1851-1854

Cyanotype

34.6 x 24.8 cm

 

Anna Atkins (1799-1871) is one of the earliest of women photographers. Her “Gleichenia flabellata (Australia),” circa 1851-1854, shows a fanlike, forked frond of this large Australasian fern. Atkins’s cyanotype photograms of the 1850s are distinctive precursors of the expressive photography of twentieth century and contemporary artists.

 

 

Mary Wyatt (English, 1789–1871), From Algæ Danmonienses…, Torquay, 1834-1840

Mary Wyatt (English, 1789–1871)

From Algæ Danmonienses…, Torquay, 1834-1840

Specimen pasted onto 29.2 x 24.0 cm sheet

 

The extent to which artistically inclined Victorian women engaged in gathering specimens from nature has yet to be fully appreciated. Based on William Hooker’s British Flora of 1830, Algæ Danmonienses was compiled by Mary Wyatt 1789-1871), a former servant of the algae collector Amelia Griffiths. The high price of the book upon its publication in five volumes between 1834 and 1840, and its scarcity today speak to the limitations of working with seaweed specimens and the challenges of preserving them. Remarkably, William Harvey wrote that he intended his 1841 Manual of the British Algæ to be a companion volume to Wyatt's work and suggested to his readers that they acquire her book in lieu of illustrations.

 

Anna Atkins (English, 1799-1871), "Aspidium Trifoliatum (Jamaica)," circa 1851-1854

Anna Atkins (English, 1799-1871)

"Aspidium Trifoliatum (Jamaica)," circa 1851-1854

Cyanotype photogram

24.9 x 19.5 cm

 

 

Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born in India, 1815-1879), "Hypatia, Marie Spartali," 1867 or 1868

Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born in India, 1815-1879)

"Hypatia, Marie Spartali," 1867 or 1868

Albumen print from a wet collodion negative

31.9 x 24.8 cm

 

The model here presents a very different appearance from many of Cameron's other milkmaids and daughters of friends, perhaps because she herself was an artists' model and an accomplished watercolorist. Marie Euphrosyne Spartali was the daughter of the Greek consul in London. A pupil of the Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown, she first exhibited at the Dudley Gallery and in 1867, about the time of this photograph, she was admitted into the Royal Academy. Spartali married the American painter and photographer William James Stillman (1828-1901) in 1871. Before posing for Cameron, she had modeled for Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown and for Edward Burne-Jones.

 

Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born in India, 1815-1879), "J. F. W. Herschel," April 1867

Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born in India, 1815-1879)

"J. F. W. Herschel," April 1867

Albumen print from a collodion negative

32.2 x 25.7 cm

 

Of all the preeminent figures Mrs. Cameron knew and photographed, she remained deeply indebted and loyal to Herschel, whom she had known since her childhood days at the Cape of Good Hope in 1836. Between 1864 and 1867 she made him an elaborate presentation album that included the best examples of her work. Her choice to have this portrait as the very first image pays affectionate homage to the role Herschel played in her life.

Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born in India, 1815-1879), "Circe" Kate Keown, 1865

Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born in India, 1815-1879)

"Circe" Kate Keown, 1865

Albumen print

25.2 x 20.2 cm

 

Cameron sought to record through the faces of her family and friends the qualities of innocence, wisdom, piety, or passion ascribed to great biblical, historical, and legendary figures. Cameron used a long exposure and shallow depth of field to give that slight sense of animation which merges the young girl, Kate Keown, with the mythic character Circe, seemingly bringing her into the viewer's presence in this fine print.  In Greek mythology, Circe is a goddess of magic, the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and Perse, an Oceanid nymph. Renowned for her vast knowledge of potions and herbs, Circe is exiled to the solitary island of Aeaea by her father Helios for killing her husband. Once there she lures sailors to the island, including the crew of Odysseus, transforming them into swine.

Blanche Shelley (English, 1841-1898), Daffodil and ferns, "April 18th 1854"

Blanche Shelley (English, 1841-1898)

Daffodil and ferns, "April 18th 1854"

Photogenic drawing negative

17.1 x 20.4 cm

 

The extent to which photography was practiced by artistically inclined Victorian women has yet to be fully appreciated. One young practitioner was Blanche Shelley. She was very distantly related to William Henry Fox Talbot through his half-sister, Caroline Feilding. Shelley’s family was drawn into this circle in 1834, so Blanche’s childhood years were ripe with the possibility of exposure to the new art. At age thirteen Blanche made her one known surviving photograph, “Daffodil and fern,” which is unusual for its having combined comparatively flat ferns with the three-dimensional daffodil.

Bertha Wehnert-Beckmann (German, 1815-1901), "Dr. Reichel," 1868

Bertha Wehnert-Beckmann (German, 1815-1901)

"Dr. Reichel," 1868

Salt print from a collodion negative

28.3 x 22.5 cm

 

Bertha Wehnert-Beckmann was introduced to photography by her husband, the Leipzig daguerreotypist Eduard Wehnert who died in 1847. Bertha then emigrated in 1849 to New York City with her brother where she opened two studios. It was about this time she began making photographs on paper in addition to daguerreotypes. Upon receiving the American Institute in New York's award for services to portrait photography, Wehnert-Beckmann returned to Germany in 1851 after making over her NY studios to her brother. Her work was represented at the first major photographic exhibition in Germany, the General German Industrial Exhibition held in Munich in 1854. Bertha's innovative portraits, her use of modern advertising methods and her sound business sense won her great acclaim.

Bertha Wehnert-Beckmann (German, 1815-1901), Portrait of woman holding a framed photograph, circa 1850s-1860s

Bertha Wehnert-Beckmann (German, 1815-1901)

Portrait of woman holding a framed photograph, circa 1850s-1860s

Salt print from a collodion negative

22.6 x 16.9 cm

Attributed to Helen Mary Bagg (American, 1825-1897), Circular seaweed arrangement, circa 1885

Attributed to Helen Mary Bagg (American, 1825-1897)

Circular seaweed arrangement, circa 1885

Seaweed specimens pasted onto 25.7 x 20.2 cm paper

 

Helen Mary Merriam Bagg was a noted American naturalist and botanist based in upstate New York. According to its presentation inscriptions, the album belonged to her father Clinton Levi Merriam who, in 1885, gave the album to his daughter and Helen’s niece, Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey (1863-1948), the noted American ornithologist, nature writer and avian activist.  Both Florence and her brother Clinton Hart Merriam were encouraged to study natural history by Helen M. M. Bagg and by their parents. In 1934, Florence gifted the album to her own niece, Zenaida Merriam Talbot (1892-1979). These aesthetic arrangements, so skillfully prepared, suggest the hand of this dedicated, talented naturalist.

In the Northeast after the Civil War, women’s clubs were especially active studying and collecting plants. In his 1990 Taxon article, “Women Who Studied Plants in the Pre-Twentieth Century United States and Canada,” Emanuel D. Rudolf records Helen M. M. Bagg as active from 1878-1894.

 

Bertha E. Jaques (American, 1863-1941), "Ground Pine, Northern Michigan," 1905-1915

Bertha E. Jaques (American, 1863-1941)

"Ground Pine, Northern Michigan," 1905-1915

Cyanotype photogram

24.2 x 19.0 cm

Doris Ulmann (American, 1882-1934), Church group, circa 1920s

Doris Ulmann (American, 1882-1934)

Church group, circa 1920s

Platinum print

20.5 x 15.5 cm

Doris Ulmann (American, 1882-1934), Field worker with two mules, circa 1920s

Doris Ulmann (American, 1882-1934)

Field worker with two mules, circa 1920s

Platinum print

20.4 x 15.5 cm

Doris Ulmann (American, 1882-1934), Workers with cotton wagon, South Carolina, 1929-1930

Doris Ulmann (American, 1882-1934)

Workers with cotton wagon, South Carolina, 1929-1930

Platinum print

19.0 x 15.0 cm

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