A Sunday Afternoon in a Picture Gallery, from "The Graphic", February 8, 1879 wood engraving National Gallery of Art Library, Department of Image Collections


Until January 28, 2011 – National Gallery of Art, Washington

Presenting twenty-two rare photographs and reproductive prints, this exhibition highlights resources for the study of Victorian art and culture from the department of image collections. By the mid-nineteenth century a wide range of art reproductions, made possible by advances in printmaking and photographic processes, were available in Britain. This diverse selection of images documents the work of Victorian artists including Edward Burne-Jones, John Everett Millais, and George Frederic Watts, as well as significant exhibitions and collections of the period. In examining photography as an emerging medium for documenting and reproducing works of art, this show features the work of five leading nineteenth-century photographers. Photographs range from an early salted paper print by Roger Fenton to later platinum prints by Frederick Hollyer, who photographed the work of Pre-Raphaelite and aesthetic movement artists. This exhibition also explores the production and distribution of reproductive prints. During the nineteenth century, prints played an increasingly important role in the popularity and success of many artists, who profited from the sale of reproductions of their work to the burgeoning middle classes.

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