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Alexander Bassano: Victorian Photographer

Past display archive
25 March - 10 November 2013

Room 28: case display


Alexander Bassano
by Alexander Bassano
NPG x96049

‘… it is exactly the sort of studio we should all of us like to have.’

– Henry Baden Pritchard, 1882

This display commemorates the centenary of the death of Alexander Bassano (1829–1913) who established one of the most important photographic portrait studios of the Victorian era. His sitters included royalty, aristocracy, politicians, and leading names from the military, sciences and arts.

Bassano opened his first studio in London during the early 1850s and was situated at 122 Regent Street from 1859. Further premises were temporarily added to accommodate his growing clientele before his grand studio at 25 Old Bond Street opened in 1877, where he remained. It was spread over three floors with several reception rooms and dressing rooms, a broad staircase and two main day-lit studios equipped with good-quality furniture and props. When Bassano arrived at his studio in the morning, he usually found clients already waiting, and he often worked without a break until the sun set.

After Bassano retired in 1901, the studio continued until the 1980s and retained its founder’s name. Most of the studio’s negatives, dating from the 1870s to the 1970s, are now held at the National Portrait Gallery.

Photographs Collection: Display
Read Bassano: The Man Himself on the Gallery’s Blog,
by Constantia Nicolaides, Photographs Cataloguer

© National Portrait Gallery, London



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