Roger Fenton

The Queen's Ghillies, Balmoral

1856
Category: 
Roger Fenton first met Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in January 1854 during a private visit to the First Annual Exhibition of the Photographic Society. This carefully studied composition reveals Fenton's formal training as a history painter in Paris, a skill he brought to perfection during his time in the Crimea, where posing groups of soldiers became second nature. The subject matter belongs to the tradition of Edwin Landseer, whose studies of stag hunting and noble highlanders were part of the visual trappings of life at Balmoral. For the Queen and prince, however, Fenton's group portrait was a "tableau vivant" showing an aspect of daily life on their estate, with a group of ghillies resting after yet another hard day among the heather, their handsome and dignified features perfectly delineated in the chiaroscuro of the evening sun.
Artist
Title
The Queen's Ghillies, Balmoral
Date
1856
Medium
Photograph
Materials
salted paper print
Dimensions
31.4 x 44.2 cm
Nationality
British
Credit line
Purchased from the Phyllis Lambert Fund, 1983
Accession number
19520