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This is another post to the blog concerning mistakes I have found in the titles and descriptions of Crimean War photographs in collections that I hope will come to the attention of curators.

While in the Crimea, Roger Fenton took a portrait of Frederick Augustus Maxse. In the picture, Commander Maxse, who at the time held the rank of commander in the Royal Navy, sits on a rock wearing in his navy frock coat with two stripes on his lower sleeve (see right). The image appeared in an exhibition of Fenton’s work held in London after he returned from the Crimea as catalogue number 167.

I recently noticed that the portrait of Commander Maxse held by the Royal Collection Trust (RCT) as accession RCIN 2500288 has the title Commander Henry Berkeley Fitzhardinge Maxse (1832-1883). However Henry Fitzhardinge Berkeley Maxse (note the correct order of his middle names) was in the army and not the navy. He was the elder brother of Frederick Augustus Maxse.

The RCT on its website has the following description of the image:

Commander Maxse served during the Crimean War as Aide-de-Camp to Lord Cardigan. He was injured in the Charge of the Light Brigade. After his return to Britain, he was presented with his Crimean medal by Queen Victoria on Horse Guards Parade on 18 May 1855. He later became Governor of Newfoundland where he died.

This description is true for Henry Maxse, but not for Commander Fredrick Maxse, who is the person in the picture. The RCT records April 1855 as the month and year the image was taken. Henry Maxse was not in the Crimea in 1855 as he was in England on medical leave for a wound he received during the Charge of the Light Brigade. However, his brother Frederick was in the Crimea in 1855 serving as naval aide-de-camp to Lord Raglan, the Commander-in-Chief of the British army. He appears on another of Fenton’s photographs of the staff at headquarters.

The Library of Congress in Washington also names the subject of the person in their Commander Maxse image as Henry Maxse, as does Getty Images. I also note that Amazon are selling the picture of Frederick Maxse under the name Henry Maxse and Wikipedia have published the same photograph under its entry for Henry Maxse.

I trust that changes will be made to the title and description by those collections naming the wrong man in the portrait.

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