Photocollage is usually thought to have been one of the 20th centurie’s major artistic breakthroughts, especially in vanguard movements during war periods, but it just so happens that it was a medium very well explored… in victorian society. By women.

Considered a “domestic amusement”, these delightful compositions were not considered art, albeit practiced by the highest of society, even the royal family. As it was expected of high society women to learn skills from knitting to paint watercolour as to pass their time, as soon as photography entered their lives and nobility and aristocratic families engaged in the art of photography, these women took it a bit further by experimenting mixed media collages with watercolouring and cutups of domestic photography.

The results are just amazing. It goes from intricate, sophisticated patterns, to watercolour paintings of interior scenes and even humurous drawings. The works of these women allow us to see the sophisticated, educated minds of the crafter behind these compositions and the skill in hand in not only the watercolouring but also the creativeness in composing the elements.

In 2010, the MET museum made a special exhibition on the subject. You can read more about it here and here.

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