Image: All the Mighty World: The Photographs of Roger Fenton, 1852-1860

Late Works, 1859 – 1860

In the late 1850s and early 1860s, Fenton's work became ever more ambitious, as he tackled new subjects and enervated older, more familiar ones. In 1859 he made several photographs of Stoneyhurst College, a Jesuit school whose property abutted the large landholdings of Fenton's extended family. His studies of the region's waterways frequently include figures fishing or contemplating the vistas before them and express the deep connection Fenton felt to his native land.

Roger Fenton (1819 - 1869)
The Long Walk
1860, albumen silver print
17.5 x 29.4 cm (6 7/8 x 11 9/16 in.)
Lent by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The Long Walk (detail)
1860, albumen silver print
Lent by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In the summer of 1860, Fenton turned his attention to still lifes, a subject that had become popular in mid-nineteenth-century British painting but was quite new to photography. Drawing on the lessons in lighting and composition that he had learned at the British Museum, he made more than forty detailed studies of objects in dense arrangements. Lush and sensuous, Fenton's still lifes often include exotic fruits and flowers—pineapples from the Caribbean, for example—that were imported from the far reaches of the British Empire or cultivated in nearby greenhouses.

That same summer, Fenton went to Windsor and made one of his most radical compositions to date: the minimal, boldly dynamic The Long Walk. Queen Victoria provoked another equally modern composition, The Queen's Target, made just after she fired the first shot at the National Rifle Association at Wimbledon Common.

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