Sarah Angelina Acland: First Lady of Colour Photography

ISBN: 9781851243723
Artist(s): Sarah Angelina Acland
Author(s): Giles Hudson
Format: hardback
Year published: 2012
Publisher: The Bodleian Library
Publisher Location: Oxford
Total Pages: 304
Illustrations: Illustrated in colour and B&W throughout


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Sarah Angelina Acland (1849-1930) is one of the most important photographers of the late Victorian and early Edwardian periods. Daughter of the Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, she was photographed by Lewis Carroll as a child, along with her close friend Ina Liddell, sister of Alice of Wonderland fame. The critic John Ruskin taught her art and she also knew many of the Pre-Raphaelites, holding Rossetti’s palette for him as he painted the Oxford Union murals.

At the age of nineteen she met the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, whose influence is evident in her early work. Following in the footsteps of Cameron and Carroll Miss Acland first came to attention as a portraitist, photographing the illustrious visitors to her Oxford home. In 1899 she then turned to the challenge of colour photography, becoming, through work with the ‘Sanger Shepherd process’, the leading colour photographer of the day.

Her colour photographs were regarded as the finest that had ever been seen by her contemporaries, several years before the release of the Lumiere Autochrome system, which she also practised. This volume provides an introduction to Miss Acland’s photography, illustrating more than 200 examples of her work, from portraits to picturesque views of the landscape and gardens of Madeira. Some fifty specimens of the photographic art and science of her peers from Bodleian collections are also reproduced for the first time, including four unrecorded child portraits by Carroll.

Detailed descriptions accompany the images, explaining their interest and significance. The photographs not only shed important light on the history of photography in the period, but also offer a fascinating insight into the lives of a pre-eminent English family and their circle of friends.


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