This is the first exhibition to focus exclusively on Roger Fenton’s pioneering photographs of the Crimean War, taken in 1855. Fenton was already an accomplished and respected photographer when he was sent by the publishers Agnew’s to photograph a war that pitched Britain, France and Turkey as allies against Russia. Arriving several months after the major battles were fought in 1854, Fenton focused on creating moving portraits of the troops, as well as capturing the stark, empty battlefields on which so many lost their lives.
Published in contemporary newspaper reports, Fenton’s photographs showed the impact of war to the general public for the first time. Through his often subtle and poetic interpretations Fenton created the genre of war photography, showing his extraordinary genius in capturing the futility of war.
Roger Fenton (1819–69) was the first photographer to document a war for public consumption. From March 1855, Fenton spent four months photographing the people and the terrain affected by the Crimean War, fought between the allied nations of Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire against Russia.
Fenton’s time in the Crimea was relatively short given the war lasted over two years (October 1853–March 1856) but his photographs captured, for the first time, the chaos and disorder of a warzone, and showed the Victorian public portraits of soldiers in the field, directly affected by battle. Although Fenton was fulfilling a commercial commission, he allowed himself to respond emotionally in his work and this is perhaps why his photographs continue to represent the Crimean War more effectively than any other visual record of the conflict.
This exhibition presents Fenton’s work within the wider context of the war, alongside other contemporary artists, photographers and writers also in the Crimea at that time. We begin with two sections which, through Fenton’s portraits, introduce some of the key individuals and events that occurred prior to Fenton’s arrival in the Crimea.
Subsequently the exhibition examine Fenton’s work in more detail, before considering the significant role played by the royal family in focusing the attention of the British public on the impact of war and the returning wounded veterans.
Friday, 9 Nov 2018 – Sunday, 28 April 2019 at the The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London
TALK: Crimean Heroine (The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 25 April 12am and 3pm, free with entrance ticket)
Frances Isabella Duberly was the only officer’s wife to remain with the British army throughout the Crimean War. She witnessed the cavalry charges at Balaklava, experienced winter privations and rode into Sevastopol soon after it fell. Learn more about this fascinating woman and find out why public opinion about her has been so mixed.
and TALK All that was left of them, left of six hundred’ (The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 18 April 12am and 3pm, free with entrance ticket)
Among the 360 photographs taken by Roger Fenton during his time in the Crimea are several remarkable images of the battle-hardened men who had survived the Charge of the Light Brigade. Allan Chin will discuss the group photographs of the officers and men of the 8th Hussars and the 13th Light Dragoons.
Over 60 £10.80
Under 17 £6.00
Student (with valid ID) £10.00
Under 5 Free
Family £30.00 (2 adults and 3 under 17s)
ONLINE You may also be interested in this online exhibition