The First of September
Price, William Henry Lake
Height: 300 mm image, Width: 252 mm image, Height: 430 mm sheet, Width: 340 mm sheet
Sepia photograph on card mount showing two dead grouse suspended from a nail against a dark background
William Henry Lake Price was a printmaker and painter as well as a photographer. He chose a traditional artistic subject - a still life featuring the extraordinary intricacy of bird plumage - to demonstrate his mastery of the still relatively new photographic medium . He was very probably using the wet collodion negative, which gave increased sharpness (compared to earlier paper negatives) and was still less tyan five years old. His title reflects the traditional commencement of the grouse shooting season. The rich bronze colour of this print is probably due to gold-toning, which also helped to ensure that the print has not faded. It was bought by the founding director of the V&A, Sir Henry Cole, at the annual exhibition of the Photographic Society of London, which opened in Piccadilly in January 1856. With this and 21 other photographers bought from the exhibition, Cole began the V&A's collection of photography as an art medium (not only a documentary one).
Purchased by Sir Henry Cole
Location: Photographs, room 100, case WE