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The Beautiful and the Damned

Beautiful and Damned cover

Out of print

Winner of 'The Golden Light Book Award' for best critical study on photography

Nineteenth-Century Portrait Photography

Peter Hamilton and Roger Hargreaves

The foundation of the National Portrait Gallery in 1856 was only one expression of an age that sought to make public what had previously been private. Between 1860 and 1900 celebrity portraits, together with the new vogue for the carte-de-visite, fuelled the fashion for collecting and classifying photographs of the face. These photographs sought to celebrate eminence, beauty, intellect and individualism; but such virtues only existed as a counterpart to the age's parallel obsession with individual vice: the criminal 'type', the mentally unstable, the socially undesirable. The reverse of the celebrity portrait was the first use of the surveillance photograph.

This book explores these parallel developments against the background of the 19th-century's belief in the 'science' of physiognomy, the study of genetics and the belief-systems and aesthetics of social Darwinism. It is bound to become a major addition to this rising area in the study of photographic history.

Roger Hargreaves is the Education Officer in Photography at the National Portrait Gallery, and has previously curated many of the Gallery's photographic exhibitions.

Peter Hamilton is a lecturer in Sociology at the Open University. He has published extensively on sociology and photography, and has curated a number of photographic exhibitions including retrospectives on Robert Doisneau and Willy Ronis.


260 x 220mm
128 pages, with 100 duotone illustrations
£15.95, Paperback
Available June 2001

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