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Allen Foster, M.R.P.S. (19th/20th Century) “A Hertfordshire Scene”


Code: 11156


H: 49.5cm (19.5")W: 62cm (24.4")

Allen Foster, M.R.P.S. (Early 20th Century)
"A Hertfordshire Scene"
Original Late Victorian/Edwardian Gelatin Silver Print 
In an antique'Arts & Crafts' oak frame.
Circa 1898

29.5 cm x 41.5 cm (image)
49.5 cm x 62 cm (framed)

Bears the impressed blindstamp of "Allen Foster / Hertfo[rdshire](?)" lower right. Framed and glazed in a bold antique 'Arts & Crafts' dark oak frame.

A charming Late 19th/Early 20th century large-format, gelatin silver print landscape photograph of a crocodile of six young children emerging from the garden of a cottage beside a church with elm trees in the background. The scene is characteristic of the villages on the Hertfordshire/Essex border - but the church has not yet been identified.

Little is known about the Victorian/Edwardian Hertfordshire photographer Allen Foster, but various Cartes de Visite and Cabinet Cards bear his studio details. He appears to have been based in Waltham Cross and to have been relatively successful. Both 'Photography' and 'Photographic News' magazines of 26th/27th August 1897 reported his having received a "Highly Commended" mention from the judges at that year's 'National Co-Operative Festival' at Crystal Palace for his collection of garden view photographs. He was made a Member of The Royal Photographic Society in March 1898, as announced in 'The Photographic Journal' (the journal of the Photographic Society of London). He is almost certainly the same Mr Allen Foster of Eleanor Cross Road, Waltham Cross whose home was vandalised by patriotic rioters in 1900, following allegations, after the Relief of Mafeking, that he was a pro-Boer sympathiser (see 'Disgraceful Riots at Waltham Cross', Hertfordshire Mercury, 2nd June 1900).


The composition, of which no other versions are known, shows a certain  indebtedness to watercolours of rural scenes from the same period, by artists such as Myles Birket Foster (the photographer's namesake). Allen Foster probably asked the children to pose for the photograph in orders to stage their appearance from the hedgerow.