Photographic study of her daughters, Viscountess Clementia Hawarden

Photographic study of her daughters, Viscountess Clementia Hawarden

Photographic study of Isabella Grace, Clementia and Elphinstone Agnes Maude on terrace
Viscountess Clementia Hawarden
London
About 1863-4
Albumen print from wet collodion negative
Museum no. PH.302-1947
Given by Lady Clementia Tottenham

This study of Lady Hawarden's three daughters shows them dressed in typical 1860s crinoline skirts. The eldest daughter, seated, reveals part of her underskirt, though underneath this would have been several layers more of crinoline petticoats or a steel cage crinoline to give the skirt its distinctively 1860s bell shape. The shoulders of her dress are sloping, and low-set. Her hair is typical of the decade - parted in the middle and scraped back into loops or buns at the nape of the neck. The little girl on the right is also wearing a bell shaped skirt, though much shorter, as was customary for children.

Lady Hawarden achieved a very short exposure with her large camera, managing to photograph her daughters and a puppy without any discernible movement. To do this she selected a wide aperture, which produced both a short exposure and a shallow depth of field. Thus, the other side of the London Square onto which the balcony looked are out of focus. this concentrates our attention on the little comedy enacted on the balcony. The eldest of the girls formally greets the puppy, while the youngest child looks gravely at the camera clutching an owl, the emblem of wisdom.