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H. P. (Henry Peach) Robinson:

An Inventory of His Photography Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Robinson, H. P. (Henry Peach), 1830-1901
Title: H. P. (Henry Peach) Robinson Photography Collection
Dates: Circa 1847-1897
Extent: 276 items
Abstract: The H. P. (Henry Peach) Robinson collection consists of 77 photographs, 193 drawings, watercolors, prints and oil paintings, and one glass negative by H. P. (Henry Peach) Robinson. Also included are four medals awarded to Robinson by the Photo Club De Paris and the World Columbian Exposition, as well as one blank carte-de-visite backing board. The collection contains genre images and composite photographs, including possible studies for a number of composite photographs.
Call Number: Photography Collection PH-00033
Language: English
Access: Open for research. Please note: Negatives cannot be accessed without curatorial approval. Some materials may be restricted from viewing. To make an appointment or to reserve photography materials, please contact the Center's staff at Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials.
Use Policies: Ransom Center collections may contain material with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Ransom Center and The University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility.
Restrictions on Use: Authorization for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Ransom Centers' Open Access and Use Policies.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation H. P. (Henry Peach) Robinson Photography Collection (Photography Collection PH-00033). Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin.
Acquisition: 957:0107:0001-0003: Acquisition information unavailable. 964:0057:0001-0023; 964:0058:0001-0184; 964:0153:0001; 964:0203:0001; 964:0661:0001-0019; 964:0663:0001-0009; 964:0664:0001-0009; 964:0665:0001-0004; 964:0666:0001-0003; 964:0667:0001-0010; 964:0703:0001; 964:0784:0001: Purchased from Helmut and Alison Gernsheim, 1963. 965:0003:0001: Acquisition information unavailable. 981:0031:0005-0007: Purchased, 1981. 2008:0034:0001-0004: Gift of Robin Tomkins, grandson of H. P. (Henry Peach) Robinson, 2008.
Processed by: Kait Dorsky, 2013

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Henry Peach Robinson was born on 9 July 1830 in Ludlow, England. After an apprenticeship in book selling and the publication of several of his sketches in newspapers, Robinson was introduced to photography by a visiting daguerreotypist and began experimenting with photographic methods. He opened a photography studio in Leamington, England, in 1857, where he took commercial portraiture and began some of his early artistic photography. He started to experiment with composite photography, or the use of portions of multiple negatives to create a single cohesive photographic print. Robinson eventually became famous for his use of this technique. Robinson created a "pictorial" effect in his works, posing costumed actors in dramatic scenes more reminiscent of painting than other early photography. While many felt that this manipulation of the photographic medium was disingenuous, Robinson became one of the best-known photographers in England at the time and a leader of the Pictorialist movement, which promoted photography as an art form.
Through the height of his career, Robinson created and exhibited a number of composite photographs, including Fading Away (1858), The Lady of Shalott (1861), and Autumn (1863), achieving popular success. He also wrote extensively on the practice and artistic nature of photography, with his most notable work being Pictorial Effect in Photography, published in installments in Photographic News in 1868. Robinson co-founded The Linked Ring in 1892, an association of notable art photographers, and was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 1900.
Robinson continued to run successful photographic studios, employing Nelson King Cherrill as a business partner from 1868 to 1875, and later with the assistance of his son, Ralph Winwood Robinson. After his retirement from business in 1888, Robinson continued his artistic photography and writing for a number of years. After suffering a seizure in 1900 which left him housebound, Robinson died on 21 February 1901.


Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Henry Peach Robinson: British Photographer." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Last modified February 14 2018.
Harker, Margaret F. Henry Peach Robinson: Master of Photographic Art, 1830-1901. Oxford: B. Blackwell, 1988.

Scope and Contents

The H. P. (Henry Peach) Robinson collection consists of 77 photographs, 193 drawings, watercolors, prints and oil paintings, and one glass negative by H. P. (Henry Peach) Robinson. Also included are four medals awarded to Robinson by the Photo Club De Paris and the World Columbian Exposition, as well as one blank carte-de-visite backing board. Images depict individuals in bucolic or dramatic scenes, including posed portraits and scenes, as well as landscapes, including scenes of castles, bridges, and the English countryside. The collection contains composite photographs, which are photographic prints made from two or more negatives to create a unified image. Several prints and drawings are possibly studies for some of these composite photographs.
The materials are arranged by accession number, with similar or duplicate images grouped together where possible. Images that are studies for other works are noted.

Related Material

Additional material related to H. P. (Henry Peach) Robinson can be found in the Lake Price album (964:0581:0047, TR 655.11 P853 HRC-P); the Stereograph Photography Collection (964:0851:0011); the Card Photograph Photography Collection (964:0756:0030); The Photographic Quarterly (964:0698:0003-0004, TR 1 P412 HRC-P v.1); Pictorial Effect in Photography (964:0697:0001-0003, TR 650 R6 1869 HRC-P); Kodak Portfolio (964:0540:0001, 0007, TR 646 L64 E28 HRC-P); Carte-de-visite album (964:0467:0029, f TR 655.11 C527 HRC-P); Sun Artists (964:0315:0005-0008, q TR S86 1889 HRC-P); and The Art and Practice of Silver Printing (958:0313:0001).

Index Terms


Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882.
Robinson, Edith.
Robinson, H. P. (Henry Peach), 1830-1901.
Robinson, Ralph.


Boats and boating in art.
Bridges--Pictorial works.
Castles in art.
Church buildings in art.
Genre (visual works).
Landscapes (representations).
Pastoral art.


Great Britain.
Ludlow (England).

Document Types

Albumen prints.
Carbon prints.
Cartes-de-visite (card photographs).
Collages (visual works).
Commemorative medals.
Composite photographs.
Glass plate negatives.
Mixed media works.
Oil paintings (visual works).
Pen and ink drawings.
Pencil drawings.
Photographic prints.
Photogravures (prints).
Photomechanical prints.
Platinum prints.
Transfer lithographs.
Watercolors (paintings).
Woodburytype (process).

Container List