British photographic history

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The Rob Dickins Collection of Victorian photographs: The Changing Faces of Fame

The Rob Dickins Collection includes 3,500 photographs of over 1000 artists and leading personalities of the nineteenth century, together with 1,000 artist letters. After purchasing an archive collected over many years by Jeremy Maas, the London art dealer, one of the Watts Gallery’s trustees, Rob Dickins CBE added his own collection and generously donated it to the Watts Gallery in 2007. The Rob Dickins collection includes images of royalty and politicians, such as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, influential thinkers, writers and musicians including Ruskin, Darwin and Dickens, artist celebrities, including G. F. Watts and his circle. Also included are the Pre-Raphaelites and Aesthetes including Holman Hunt, Rosetti, Burne- Jones and their muses.

The extent and value of this rich archive has yet to be fully researched and its importance is still in the process of being discovered. Treasures such as Holman Hunt’s family album can be found as well as “The Red Album”, made up of letters, photographs and biographies of artists.

This remarkable collection further develops the Watts Gallery’s centre for exploring Victorian art, social history and craft. A talk has been scheduled for next month focussing on how fame has been historically portrayed in painting and photography. Details can be found here.

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