Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography

An exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery featuring the four Victorian pioneers of art photography is currently residing at Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery until the 23rd of September. This is the first exhibition celebrating the innovative work of Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron, Oscar Rejlander, and Clementina Hawarden.

The exhibition features spectacular photographs, including some never before seen in the UK, of famous sitters such as Charles Darwin, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Thomas Carlyle, George Frederic Watts, Ellen Terry and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Historic pieces such as Rejlander’s ‘The Two Ways of Life’ are on display, his most controversial work that had art world in disarray as he attempted to make a photograph look just as respectable as a piece of art. This involved taking photos of each model separately and combing over 30 negatives to create one print. Other attempts at this can be seen with his recreation of ‘Raphael's Cherubs’ and ‘Study of the Head of John the Baptist in a Charger’. Visitors can also study photographs of the famous muse behind ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ as Alice Liddell poses for Lewis Carroll in a series of photographs ranging from her early childhood to late adolescence.

Oscar Rejlander, 'Raphael's Cherubs'

The exhibition offers a glimpse into the beginning of a cultural phenomenon, where professionals and newbies in photography can admire the revolutionary work and methods developed by the godfathers themselves.

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