Greek Slave

Hugh Owen (British, 1808–1897)
Nicolaas Henneman (Dutch, Heemskerk 1813–1898 London)
Salted paper print from paper negative
Image: 8 3/8 × 6 5/16 in. (21.3 × 16.1 cm)
Mount: 13 3/4 × 9 13/16 in. (35 × 25 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Emanuel Gerard Gift, 1982
Accession Number:
Not on view
Photography became a primary means of representing sculpture in the mid-nineteenth century, and one of the most photographed works was Hiram Power’s Greek Slave. The American sculptor created six full-size marble versions of a young nude Greek woman in a Turkish slave market, exhibiting them publicly in Europe and the United States. Owen’s calotype records the first carving (1841-43; carved 1844; private collection, England) on display in 1851 at the Great Exhibition held in London’s Crystal Palace. Owen was one of several photographers royally commissioned to create 154 photographs for the Reports by the Juries, a four-volume set issued to document objects on display from fine arts to machinery. Owen’s photograph depicts the prize-winning Greek Slave in situ in the United States section at the exhibition, illuminated from the left against a dark background.
Inscription: Printed on mount, BC: "GREEK SLAVE. // (MARBLE)"; BR: "POWERS."
Charles B. Wood

Gernsheim, Helmut. Incunabula of British Photographic Literature: A Bibliography of British Photographic Literature, 1839–75, and British Books Illustrated with Original Photographs. Berkeley: Scolar Press, 1984. p. 18.