Stately Homes and Landscapes, 1858 – 1860
In the late 1850s, Fenton focused his interest in architecture on Britain's stately country houses, photographing Hardwick Hall and Wollaton Hall, both built in the late sixteenth century; neoclassical Harewood House of the eighteenth century; and Mentmore House, completed for the Baron de Rothschild only a few years before Fenton photographed its billiard room. The proud owners undoubtedly delighted in having Fenton, the most celebrated photographer in Britain, record their homes. He used the opportunities to offer glimpses into the lives of upper-class Victorians and reveal British prosperity and pride.
In 1860, Fenton traveled to the Lake District,
a favorite tourist destination celebrated for its beauty by
British painters and poets, most notably its native son Wordsworth.
At the time, travel guides frequently included extensive quotations
from literary and poetic descriptions of the area, which served
as both a guide to the region and a souvenir of its pleasures.
Fenton and other photographers realized that their photographs
could function in much the same way, and he recorded many of
the principal tourist destinations, including the Newby Bridge
and Lake Derwentwater.