L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Dressing up friends - photographs by David Wilkie Wynfield, circa 1863-68

Unidentified man.

David Wilkie Wynfield (1837, India – 26 May 1887, London), British painter and photographer. Born in India, the son of James Stainback Winfield, a captain in the 47th Bengal native infantry, he was named after his maternal great-uncle and godfather Sir David Wilkie. Originally intended for the priesthood, he studied at Leigh’s Art School from 1856 and first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1859. He was a founding member of the St. John’s Wood Clique of artists, and his paintings are in keeping with the group’s interest in historical genre subjects; he would be the only member of that group not eventually elected a member or associate member of the Royal Academy. Like many of his artistic comrades, Wynfield served in The Artists' Rifles, reaching the rank of Captain and was commander of 'H' Company by 1880. He died only seven years later, though, reportedly of consumption, in his fiftieth year.


In the 1860s Wynfield had become interested in photography and developed a technique of shallow-focus portrait photography. (Which he would pass on to Julia Margaret Cameron, who later acknowledged him as the main influence on her own work.) Using an 8 x 6 inch glass plate camera combined with careful lighting and an emphasis on form rather than detail, he was trying to capture something of the effect of Old Master paintings using the new medium. By the middle of the decade, he was working on a large series of portraits of artists (and one architect) - both members of the St. John’s Wood Clique and others - dressed in medieval and Renaissance costume. An early selection of twenty of these photographs was published in book form in March of 1864 under the title The Studio: A Collection of Photographic Portraits of Living Artists, Taken in the Style of Old Masters, by an Amateur.

Simeon Solomon.
William Holman Hunt.
Valentine Cameron Prinsep.
John Phillip.
John Evan Hodgson.
George du Maurier.
Frederick Richard Pickersgill.
Sir Coutts Lindsay, 2nd Baronet.
Frederick Walker.
Same as above.
Carl Haag.
Henry Stacy Marks.
Charles Edward Perugini.
Thomas Oldham Barlow.
Thomas Faed.
William Swinden Barber.
John Dawson Watson.
William Frederick Yeames.
Richard Ansdell.
John Everett Millais as Dante.
Unidentified man.
Alfred Elmore.
Henry Wyndham Phillips.
Frederick, Lord Leighton.
Same as above.


  1. Such an interesting set of photos. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Do people still have fun with costumes (other than halloween and even that is pretty sad by comparison) ??

    1. Not much, I'm afraid. Still plenty of drag, of course, but that is usually pretty straightforward - ironic choice of words! - and rarely ventures into period costume or anything like that. (Except when I've done it!) I do know a lot of artists, though, and we've been known to get pretty serious with costumes now and again; there - is - hope! ; )

  3. Pre-Raphaelites. Wonderful pictures and quite Old Master like.