St. George and the Dragon

Lewis Carroll British

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.

St. George and the Dragon, Lewis Carroll (British, Daresbury, Cheshire 1832–1898 Guildford), Albumen silver print from glass negative

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