Lewis Carroll (British, Daresbury, Cheshire 1832–1898 Guildford)
June 26, 1875
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Image: 11.7 × 16 cm (4 5/8 × 6 5/16 in.)
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Gift, 2005
Not on view
In 1872, Carroll had a studio built above his rooms at Christ Church so that he could make photographs even in inclement weather. With trunks full of toys and costumes from the Drury Lane Theatre, the "glass house" was a paradise for children. Xie (Alexandra) Kitchin, a beautiful and photogenic child, was Carroll's muse in the 1870s. Born in 1864, she was the daughter of George William Kitchin, a colleague and an old friend from Carroll's student days at Oxford. Carroll photographed Xie more than any other of his models, often dressed in exotic costume. In this tableau vivant, Xie plays the princess to her brother's St. George. Another knight-brother has fallen prey to the leopard-skin dragon. The princess, clearly the focus of the picture, is ready for sacrifice, though St. George's sword seems the only threat. The photographer here casts the children in the roles of adults, creating a seemingly innocent vignette; it is, however, one that the modern viewer will find fraught with double entendres.
Inscription: Inscribed in negative, recto TL: "303 // 2316"
(sold, Sotheby's, Belgravia, June 17, 1981, lot 378); Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York
Museum of Modern Art, New York. "From the Gilman Collection: Photographs Preserved in Ink," November 15, 1984–February 26, 1985.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 25, 1993–July 4, 1993.
Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," August 7, 1993–October 2, 1993.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," June 19, 1994–September 11, 1994.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Beyond the Edges: An Insider's Look at Early Photographs," October 9, 1998–February 14, 1999.
Musée d'Orsay. "Mises en scène: photographies victoriennes, 1840-1880," March 1, 1999–June 26, 1999.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Dreaming in Pictures: The Photography of Lewis Carroll," August 3, 2002–November 10, 2002.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Dreaming in Pictures: The Photography of Lewis Carroll," February 22, 2003–May 19, 2003.
International Center of Photography. "Dreaming in Pictures: The Photography of Lewis Carroll," June 16, 2003–September 7, 2003.
Art Institute of Chicago. "Dreaming in Pictures: The Photography of Lewis Carroll," October 1, 2003–January 1, 2004.
National Gallery of Canada. "Acting the Part: A History of the Staged Photograph," June 16, 2006–October 1, 2006.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photographs. "Grand Illusions: Staged Photography from the Collection," August 10, 2015–November 15, 2015.
Nickel, Douglas R. Dreaming in Pictures: The Photography of Lewis Carroll. San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2002. no. pl. 21.
Taylor, Roger, and Edward Wakeling. Lewis Carroll, Photographer: The Princeton University Library Albums. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002. pp. 102, 217, 233.
Elderfield, John, and Peter Galassi. In the Studio: Photographs. Vol. 1. New York: Phaidon Press, 2015. pp. 27-28, fig. 22.
Wakeling, Edward. The Photographs of Lewis Carroll. Austin, Tex.: University of Texas Press, 2015. no. IN-2316, p. 248.