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Creator Name: Robinson, Henry Peach
Creator Nationality: European; British
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1830 - 1901
Biography: Henry Peach Robinson British, 1830-1901Considered the founder of the pictorialist school of photography, Henry Peach Robinson is both a highly regarded and a controversial figure in the history of the medium. Born in Ludlow, Shropshire, Robinson began his career as a painter and became interested in photography in 1852. In 1857 he opened a portrait studio. A leading exponent of photography as a fine art, Robinson is best known for his composite photographs. Constructed through a process of design similar to painting, these images were produced by first assembling several individual photographs and then rephotographing them into a final composition. They were particularly popular with the Victorian public, in part for their sentimental content. Robinson's manipulative approach, however, raised hotly contended questions among critics and artists. Robinson exhibited extensively, receiving more than 100 medals, prizes, and honors. Called "the Nestor of pictorial photography," he lectured and published numerous articles and 10 books, which not only appeared in later editions but often can be found today. He was affiliated with the Linked Ring, the Photographic Exchange Club, the Amateur Photographic Association, and the Royal Photographic Society, serving as vice president in 1887 and named an Honorary Fellow in 1900. One of Robinson's earliest and most controversial photographs was Fading Away, shown in 1858 and bought by Prince Albert for his collection. This era marks the high-water point of the pictorialists' synthetic approach, even though the discussion of manipulated prints would continue throughout the century. T.W.F.
Creator Birth Place: Ludlow, Shropshire, England
Creator Death Place: Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Creator Name-CRT: Henry Peach Robinson
Title: Dawn and Sunset
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1885
Creation End Date: 1885
Creation Date: 1885
Object Type: Photographs
Materials and Techniques: platinum print from glass negative
Dimensions: Image: 26.2cm x 36.9cm, Mounted: 29.3cm x 42.9cm, Second mount: 38.4cm x 51.2cm
Inscriptions: written in pencil on recto of primary mount: "Henry P. Robinson/ Ludlow Mills"; on secondary mount: "Dawn and Sunset"; on verso: "France Esq/ S (?) alop Old Bank/ 1-1/2 oak + (?) slip of =Wednesday"
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1998.105
Credit Line: Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund
Context: Henry Peach Robinson was a pioneer in the "combination printing" technique, employing a number of negatives to make one photographic print. Keenly interested in portraying picturesque narrative scenes and landscapes, he carefully staged elaborate tableaux, often relying on relatives to serve as models. In Dawn and Sunset he presented a symbolic portrayal of three generations, from infancy to old age. By using the combination method, he was able to exercise greater control over his subjects' poses, gestures, and expressions than would have been possible with a single exposure.The smaller, platinum print version provides an instructive example of how an artist's vision can change when a different process is used to print the same negative. The platinum process provided a warmer, more subtle tonal range than the albumen process. The larger, albumen print appears almost journalistic in its use of harsh, even lighting, whereas in the platinum print Robinson was able to hide many details in dark shadow. This created a sense of unity that is missing in the larger image.
Link to Work: CMA_.1998.107
AMICA ID: CMA_.1998.105
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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