Photograph Kate Dore with frame of plants
Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-79) and Oscar Gustav Rejlander (1813-87)
Albumen print; the ferns added by the photogram technique
Museum no. PH.258-1982
This print is a photogram, a technique of making a picture without a camera or lens. Photograms are made by placing objects on top of a piece of photographic paper and then exposing the composition to light. In this example, ferns were placed in contact with the glass negative prior to printing-out in sunlight. It was customary for grown women to wear their hair up, but young girls generally wore their hair down. It was only in the 1920s that women started to cut their hair short and so up until that point most girls and women had very long hair, which was often given fashionable waves or ringlets and parted in the middle. The Victorians were fond of collecting and cultivating ferns, which were used as a decorative motif from the 1850s to the end of the century.