Monday, October 3, 2011
Lady Clementina Hawarden - 5, Princes Gardens, Clementina; Studies from Life c. 1863/4
Photograph depicting the artist's daughter Clementina wearing a white cotton skirt lying on a bed by a window with her head resting on her hand, her reflection in a mirror behind her. Clementina (1847-1901) models as an 'Odalisque', but of a curiously fractured and photographic kind.
5 Princes Gardens, interior: first floor, front: right window: screen: floor-boards: Clementina, in fancy dress (Orientalist style), eyes closed, reclining on draped divan, right hand on cheek. Beside divan are cheval-glass (which reflects left side of her torso, window and window-casement) and French-style side-table (on which are jug, epergne, plate, and easel-back mirror). Visible through window: balcony; houses south side of Princes Gardens (faintly).
The Hawardens bought a newly-built house near the South Kensington Museum in 1859 and Lady Hawarden used the first floor - normally principal reception rooms - as a photographic studio. Her models were chosen from her children. Here her daughter Clementina (1847-1901) models as an 'Odalisque', but of a curiously fractured and photographic kind.
Historical significance: The psychological complexity of Lady Hawarden's images of women has inspired modern viewers to interpret her work in terms of feminist issues. Ingrid Sischy has suggested intriguing parallels between Lady Hawarden's 'Photographic Studies' and the 'Untitled Film Stills' of Cindy Sherman (American, born 1954).