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The American Civil War: Shadows of Ourselves

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[Study for Holiday in the Wood]

Henry Peach Robinson (British, 1830–1901)

Date:
1860
Medium:
Collage of albumen silver prints from glass negatives with applied media
Dimensions:
Image: 41.9 x 55.9 cm (16 1/2 x 22 in.) Frame: 66 x 76.2 cm (26 x 30 in.)
Classification:
Collages
Credit Line:
Gernsheim Collectio Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Description

    After the controversy stirred up by his depiction of a dying girl in Fading Away, Robinson chose a more anodyne rural scenario for his next major composition, A Holiday in the Wood. Over the course of two sunny days in April 1860, he exposed six separate negatives of models frolicking in his backyard studio. While waiting for another sunny day on which to photograph the woods a few miles away—it was an exceptionally rainy year—he made this trial print, on which he painted the wooded background by hand to help him envision the completed composition. The close correspondence between the study and the final image is evidence of Robinson’s precise preconception of his pictures.

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