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Title: Flower Study (Rhododendron Edgeworthii)
Date: c.1865
Medium: Albumen print
21.9 x 15.3 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, 2018
Object Number: NGI.2018.27
DescriptionDuring the late 1840s and throughout the 1950s Francis Edmond Currey, agent of the Duke of Devonshire’s estate in Lismore, Co. Waterford, became interested in the new art of photography. With the duke largely absent from the estate, Currey was treated as lord of the manor, with ample time to practice photography as an amateur.
Currey was an experimentalist, taking full advantage of the resources and production facilities of a country estate. Much of his early work was in calotype, with the subjects mostly local, including the people whose work Currey supervised and the land over which he had stewardship.
This print dates to c.1865. The subject is a flowering stem of Rhododendron Edgeworthii, beautifully lit and featuring the typically bullate leaf character. The Rhododendron Edgeworthii was discovered in Sikkim by Joseph Hooker in 1849 and named for Michael Pakenham Edgeworth - the youngest half-brother of the Anglo-Irish novelist Maria Edgeworth - who himself took up calotype photography in the early 1840s before leaving Ireland to work in the Bengal civil service.
ProvenancePurchased by Private Collector at Sotheby's, London, 4th May 1995 - Lot 83