A typical Frisian scene; Skating on Dutch canals: beside a windmill; Various

early 20th century (photographed)

Pitcairn-Knowles, Andrew

Height: 12.1 cm, Width: 16.4 cm

E.3520-2004 PDP

'A typical Frisian scene', photograph by Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles, Friesland, early 20th century.

This photograph shows a woman sitting on a sledge on a frozen canal, a man is pushing it. In the background there is a windmill.

Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles (born Rotterdam 1871, died Hastings 1956) was a pioneering photographic journalist who published his work in the new illustrated magazines of the late 19th and early 20th century. From the turn of the century he travelled around Europe, living in Berlin, Brussels, Paris and Jersey. With his eye for detail, timing and geometry, he accurately captured the leisure activities, sports and customs of the period. Besides their documentary value, his photographs have a quirky and almost surreal quality. Both Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles and his wife Margaret Pitcairn-Knowles were sports fanatics. Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles practised tennis, football, ice skating, ice hockey, hockey, cycling, golf and cricket at one point of his life. But he was equally keen on organizing sporting events. Among the clubs he helped to found were the Anglo American Tennis Club in Berlin, the Berliner Golf Club (Berlin’s Golf Club) and the Berliner Hockey und Radpolo Club (Berlin’s Hockey and Cycle Club). Margaret Pitcairn-Knowles formed the first ladies’ hockey team in France, was a member of several teams, and wrote a column in The Hockey Field, a magazine published in Berlin. In 1895 Pitcairn-Knowles launched his magazine Sport im Bild (Sports Illustrated), a monthly magazine which distinguished itself from some other magazines by, as the title implies, its illustrations. The magazine published photographs by its staff but also organised competitions for amateur photographers to send in their photo’s. Four years after the founding of the magazine, Pitcairn-Knowles started publishing Sport im Wort (Sports in Words), in which pictures were entirely absent but which, like Sport im Bild, paid special attention to Hockey. Pitcairn-Knowles published articles and photo reports on sports in several magazines, among others in the World Wide Magazine, The Badminton Magazine of Sports & Pastimes and Outing: The Illustrated Magazine of Sport Travel Adventure and Country Life. His subjects range form motor racing, to ice skating, and from tobogganing to fishing and hunting. We would not call Pitcairn-Knowles a sports photographer though: he was as interested in the goings-on around the track as in the sports themselves and sports which could just as well be labeled ‘leisure activities’.

Pitcairn-Knowles Archive purchased from Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles' grandson Richard Pitcairn-Knowles for £10,000.

Purchased through the Cecil Beaton Fund

Location: Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case X, shelf 980, box L

View this object on the V&A website