View full screen - View 1 of Lot 261. [Thomson, John, and Adolphe Smith Headingley] | The first photographic social documentation of any kind.
261

[Thomson, John, and Adolphe Smith Headingley] | The first photographic social documentation of any kind

[Thomson, John, and Adolphe Smith Headingley] | The first photographic social documentation of any kind

[Thomson, John, and Adolphe Smith Headingley] | The first photographic social documentation of any kind

[Thomson, John, and Adolphe Smith Headingley]

Street Incidents. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, 1881


Quarto (270 x 203 mm). 21 woodburytypes, each with printed caption and red ruled border. Publisher's green pictorial cloth, decoratively stamped in gilt and black; expertly recased.


"The first photographic social documentation of any kind" (Gernsheim)


Thomson's photographs in Street Life in London and the present Street Incidents, along with the commentary upon the images by Thomson and Adolphe Smith, depict a London in which life is a harsh and continuous struggle. The characters on view here are familiar to us more from Dickens' novels, or from an idea of the Whitechapel of Jack the Ripper, than from any nostalgic image of fusty or patrician Victorianism. Thomson and Smith are, however, sympathetic to the objects of their study, and seem intent on cataloguing the variety of types to be found rather than attempting any Barnum-like freakshow. As Thomson himself writes: "The precision and accuracy of photography enables us to present true types of the London poor and shield us from the accusation of either underrating or exaggerating individual peculiarities of appearance."


It is "a pioneering work of social documentation in photographs and words...one of the most significant and far-reaching photobooks in the medium's history" (Parr & Badger).


This copy is the second abridged issue, with variant title (i.e., renamed Street Incidents) and complete with 21 plates and text leaves numbered 45-100. The history of the production of this issue is not well known. However, internal evidence, when compared to the first edition of Street Life, which contains 36 photographs and text leaves numbered 1-100, reveal that Street Incidents comprises everything from Street Life, both text and photographs, following page 44. The only changes would appear to be additional plate numbers below the captions, as well as page numbers above the images. It would seem likely that the publisher had a remainder of the latter portion of Street Life, and re-issued what was available with a new title, and without credit to Thomson, as a new work.


The images in Street Incidents comprise: A Convict's Home; The Wall Worker; Covent Garden Labourers; Halfpenny Ices; Black Jack; The Cheap Fish of St. Giles; Cast-iron Billy; Worker's on the "Silent Highway"; The Street Fruit Trade; The London Boardmen; The Water-cart; "Mush-Fakers" and Ginger-Beer Makers; November Effigies; "Hookey Alf" of Whitechapel; The Crawlers; Italian Street Musicians; The Street Locksmith; The Seller of Shell-fish; Flying Dustmen; Old Furniture; The Independent Shoeblack.


REFERENCE

Cf. Gernsheim 447; cf. Hasselblad 42; cf. Parr & Badger I:48; cf. Truthful Lens 169

Condition as described in catalogue entry.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.