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Sunshine And Shade

Sunshine And Shade

Photographer: Pickersgill, F.R. (1820-1900)

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1857

Shelfmark: 1753.b.29

Item number: 2

Length: 17.8

Width: 22.85

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

“...Hence gifted bards
Have ever loved the calm and quiet shades;
For them there was an eloquent voice in all –
The sylvan pomp of woods – the golden sun –
The flowers – the leaves – the river on its way –
Blue skies – and silver clouds – and gentle winds –
The swelling upland, where the sidelong sun
Aslant the wooded slope, at evening goes –
Groves, through whose broken roof the sky looks in –
Mountain – and shattered cliff – and sunny vale –
The distant lake – fountains – and mighty trees –
In many a lazy syllable repeating
Their old poetic legends to the wind.
And this is the sweet spirit that doth fill
The world; and, in these wayward days of youth,
My busy fancy oft embodies it,
As a bright image of the light and beauty
That dwell in nature – of the heavenly forms.”

From ‘The Spirit of Poetry’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, reprinted in 'The Sunbeam, a Photographic Magazine' (1857)

‘The Sunbeam, a Photographic Magazine’, edited by Philip Henry Delamotte, was published in five parts, each containing four albumen prints of landscape and architectural subjects. No.1 appeared in January 1857 and in 1859 the collection was reissued as a book titled ‘The Sunbeam, a Book of Photographs from Nature’. Each photographic plate is paired with a poetic or prose text. Both images and text celebrate the romantic beauty of nature, landscape and monuments, seemingly untouched by mid-19th century industrial and urban development. A poem by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) accompanied this photograph by Frederick Richard Pickersgill of a couple seated in a garden, the woman lost in reverie as she listens to her companion read aloud.

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