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In the Valley of the Mole
Albumen silver print, from glass negative
20.4 x 25.5 cm (8 1/16 x 10 1/16 in.) (image) 30.5 x 43.7 cm (12 x 17 3/16 in.) (mount)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Purchase, Harrison D. Horblit and Harriette and Noel Levine Gifts and David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1988, Accession Number:1988.1033
One of the first English photographers to earn a living from the medium, Robert Howlett is known primarily for his photographs of the steamship, The Great Eastern, commissioned by the London Times in 1857. Earlier in his career, however, he was an artist-amateur who photographed rustic cottages and picturesque landscapes, such as this one, for his own aesthetic pleasure. In this photograph he resolved the relationship of cart and river so perfectly that the balance seems inevitable. Like Constable's Hay Wain (1821), the photograph addresses the temporality of man's industry within nature's continuity and confirms the peaceable equation established between them in Romantic art.