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Charles Thurston Thompson
Venetian Mirror c. 1700 from the Collection of John Webb
Albumen print from wet collodion-on-glass negative
22.8 x 16.3 cm (image)
Victoria and Albert Museum
Museum Number: 39:833
Charles Thurston [Thompson] was the first official photographer employed by the South Kensington Museum. He was appointed in 1856 but photographed at the Museum in 1853. His subject here is a Venetian mirror lent to the Museum for an exhibition of 'Decorative Furniture' at Gore House, South Kensington. Such loan objects were photographed prior to their return to lenders so that photographic copies could be sold to designers, craftsmen and students, and also filed in the Museum's library for study. Thompson inadvertently included himself and his camera, reflected in the mirror. It gives us a vivid glimpse of a photographer at work outdoors - in the garden at Gore House - in the early days of the Museum and the profession of Museum Photography.