The 1850s: A Visually Stunning Photographic History of the Crimean War

Some stunning photographic history focussing on the 1850s when the Crimean War took place.

A few photographers at that time photographed the war but were not successful or their photos did not survive due to natural disasters that struck at that time.

Roger Fenton was one of those war photographers of that time whose photos stood out from the crowd. Considered one of the most famous photographers in the entire history of photography, he's also one of the most celebrated and influential photographers from England during the 1850s too.

A Short Bio on the Life of this Famous Photographer

Roger Fenton – born in 1819 in Heywood, near Rochdale in England.  He was born in a family with comfortable means and hence had the freedom to pursue his interests.

In the 1840s, Roger studied law in London and later studied painting in London and Paris. He practiced as a lawyer for some time before becoming a photographer.

During the late 1840s/early 1850s, Fenton started experimenting with photography more, while painting too – a few of which were accepted by the Royal Academy, but sadly without any distinction.

His training as a painter helped bring an artistic eye for composition in his photographs that set him apart from other photographers of that time.

Roger liked photographing architecture that he photographed the major churches and Abbeys of Great Britain. He usually worked on large formats of 14 x 18 inches.

Roger made the best use of light and shot images from very good vantage points that gave the architectural images their credits. His photographs of landscapes were also very compelling.

Roger’s first exhibition of his photographs was in 1852 and he later co-founded the Photographic society.

In 1858, a critic for the “Journal of the Photographic Society” wrote for the review of the annual exhibition as,

No one can touch Fenton in landscape. “There is such an artistic feeling about the whole of these pictures … that they cannot fail to strike the beholder as being something more than mere photographs.”

In 1852, Roger traveled to Russia to photograph constructions for civil engineer Charles Vignoles. He then documented the construction of the suspension bridge over the Dnieper River in Ukraine, while photographing a few buildings and other landscapes in Kiev, Moscow and St Petersburg.

Roger used waxed paper negative process of Gustave Le Grey for his photographs.

In 1854, Roger started photographing the British Royal Family, where he had to make visits to the various Royal residences to take portraits of the family members.

He also signed an agreement to photograph art and artifacts of the British Museum collection, the same year.

Camps on plateau before Sebastopol

Title: [Camps on plateau before Sebastopol]; Other Title: Plateau before Sebastopol, Turkish tents in the distance; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 29 x 36.3 cm. Summary: View of British camp with Turkish camp in the distance. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9163 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47118 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

A Croat chief

Title: A Croat chief; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 19 x 16 cm. Summary: Three-quarter length portrait of man facing front. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9329 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Brigadier General Lockyer & two of his staff

Title: Brigadier General Lockyer & two of his staff; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 21 x 17 cm. Summary: Brigadier General Henry Frederick Lockyer (seated center) and two of his staff of the 97th Regiment of Foot, full-length portrait, wearing uniforms, posed on steps in front of building. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9175 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Brigadier McPherson & officers of the 4th Division Captain Higham

Title: Brigadier McPherson & officers of the 4th Division Captain Higham [i.e., Heigham], 17th Regiment; Captain Earle, Major of Brigade; Captain Croker, 17th Regiment; Captain Swire; Captain McPherson. Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 17 x 18 cm. Summary: Brigadier Philip McPherson, CB., and captains Clement Henry John Heigham, William Henry Earle, (John L. or Edward) Croker, Roger Swire, and Philip McPherson, wearing uniform, posed next to tent. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9174 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Camp of the 4th Light Dragoons - soldiers quarters

Title: Camp of the 4th Light Dragoons – soldiers quarters; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 26 x 36 cm. Summary: Military camp showing men, huts, and horses. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9171 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47119 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Captain Graham & Captain Macleod, 42nd Regiment

Title: Captain Graham & Captain Macleod, 42nd Regiment; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 20 x 17 cm. Summary: Captain Graham and Captain Macleod, one seated and one standing in front of tent. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9157 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Captain Webb's hut, 4th Dragoon Guards

Title: Captain Webb's hut, 4th Dragoon Guards; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 14 x 21 cm. Summary: Captain John MacDonnell Webb standing in the doorway of his hut looking at Colonel Hodge (standing in profile), Mrs. Rogers, Webb's servant with a horse, and several others; also shows three bell tents next to the officer's quarters. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9196 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Captain Bathurst, Grenadier Guards

Title: Captain Bathurst, Grenadier Guards; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 18 x 17 cm. Summary: Captain Bathurst, full-length portrait, dressed in uniform, standing next to a horse with other horses and buildings in the background. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9114 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Balaklava harbour, the cattle pier

Title: Balaklava harbour, the cattle pier; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 29.5 x 36 cm. Summary: A building next to which is a pile of baskets and a holding pen with horses at the landing place on the cattle pier with ship at dock in Balaklava harbor, also view of the landscape of the hills in the background. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9188 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-22039 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Balaclava looking seawards, the Commandant's house in the foreground

Title: Balaclava looking seawards, the Commandant's house in the foreground; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 27 x 35.5 cm. Summary: Balaklava looking seaward showing general view of the landscape and buildings with the Commandant's house in the foreground, behind which, to the right, is the ordnance wharf and the harbor with a line of ships receding to the middle distance, and in the upper left corner, the remains of the old Genoese castle perched on the hills that line the harbor. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9142 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-2368 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Captain Hall, & group of the 14th

Title: Captain Hall, & group of the 14th; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 15 x 20 cm. Summary: Eight soldiers posed near flagpole. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9325 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Captain Clifford, aide-de-camp to General Buller

Title: Captain Clifford, aide-de-camp to General Buller; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 18 x 17 cm. Summary: Captain Clifford, in uniform, astride a horse, facing front. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9323 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Cavalry camp, looking towards Kadikoiu

Title: Cavalry camp, looking towards Kadikoi; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 27 x 34 cm. Summary: View of encampment showing bell tents, huts, soldiers, and horses. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9322 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

A Little History of the Crimean War

If you didn't know about the history of the Crimean War, it took place from 1853 to 1856 and was fought mostly on the Southern tip of Crimea, which is a peninsula extending into the Black Sea.

This was the location of Russia’s great naval base and the primary objective of Great Britain and France was the destruction of this base at Sevastopol.

Although the main reason for the war is not easy to explain, it seems to have been the result of the motives and ambitions of a few individuals that led to the conflict between Russia and a few other nations.

Between 1854 and 1855, the war took a turn as the engagements in an open battlefield shifted to establishing of the Siege of Sevastopol. War correspondent William Howard Russell’s accounts of the life of soldiers in Balaklava struck a chord with the readers back in the home country.

Group of Croats

Title: Group of Croats; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 16.8 x 17 cm. Summary: A group of Croat laborers, seated and standing in front of building. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9351 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47543 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Discussion between two Croats

Title: Discussion between two Croats; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 19 x 17 cm. Summary: Two Croats, full-length portrait, one, facing forward, sitting, holding pole; the other, facing right, holding pole, with hand resting on the other's coat. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9264 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47554 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Group of the 47th Regiment, winter dress, ready for the trenches

Title: Group of the 47th Regiment, winter dress, ready for the trenches; Other Title: Group of the 47th in winter dress; Group of 47th Regiment in winter dress; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 17 x 17 cm. Summary: Group of eight soldiers in winter clothing; one reclining, four sitting, two standing, and one bending over. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9376 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47111 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Cooking house, 8th Hussars

Title: Cooking house, 8th Hussars; Other Title: Cookhouse of 8th Hussars; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 16 x 21 cm. Summary: Soldiers standing and sitting around cooking pots as a cook ladels food into a bowl; in the background stands a woman and on the left is the side of Fenton's photographic van. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9344 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47542 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Group of 4th Dragoon Guards

Title: Group of 4th Dragoon Guards; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 16 x 17 cm. Summary: Group of soldiers in camp near shack with goat and horse. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9342 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47839 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Colonel Airey & Major Hallewell

Title: Colonel Airey & Major Hallewell; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 16 x 16 cm. Summary: Two officers, one standing by horse, the other reclining on ground, with two attendants nearby. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9335 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Group of Montenegrins

Title: Group of Montenegrins; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 18.5 x 17 cm. Summary: Five Montenegrins posed against a tile-roofed structure; one sits in a window. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9293 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-68257 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Head Quarters staff

Title: Head Quarters staff: 1) Colonel Vico; 2) Major the Honourable Leicester Curzon; 3) Lord Burghersh; 4) Orderly; 5) Count Revel; 6) Mr. Calvert Interpreter; 7) Colonel Poulet[t] Somerset; 8) Colonel A. Hardinge; 9) Dr. Prendergast; 10) Commander Maxse; 11) Colonel Kingcote; Other Title: British and French staff officers at Headquarters Staff at Head Quarters; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 18.5 x 16.5 cm. Summary: British and French staff officers, full-length group portrait, posed sitting and standing on steps at British(?) headquarters. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9283 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Cossack Bay, Balaklava

Title: Cossack Bay, Balaklava; Other Title: The cattle wharf, Balaclava; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 29.5 x 36 cm. Summary: A building next to which is a pile of baskets and a holding pen with horses at the landing place on the cattle pier with several ships at dock in Balaklava harbor, also view of bell tents at water's edge and the landscape of the hills in the background. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9205 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-2375 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

General view of Balaklava, the hospital on the right

Title: General view of Balaklava, the hospital on the right; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 30 x 36 cm. Summary: Includes buildings in the foreground, a view of the harbor, and military tents scattered on the hills to the left in the background. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9198 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-2370 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Colonel Brownrigg C.B. & the two Russian boys Alma & Inkermann

Title: Colonel Brownrigg C.B. & the two Russian boys Alma & Inkermann; Other Title: Colonel Brownrigg and the captured Russian boys; Lieutenant Colonel Brownrigg, Grenadier Guards with two Russian boys; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 17 x 17 cm. Summary: Colonel Brownrigg, full-length portrait, seated, facing right; and two Russian boys, one standing and one sitting, at entrance to tent. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9158 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-16980 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Colonel Doherty, officers & men of the 13th Light Dragoons

Title: Colonel Doherty, officers & men of the 13th Light Dragoons; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 17 x 22.3 cm. Summary: Group of men of the 13th Light Dragoons, including Colonel Doherty, Cornet Danzil Chamberlayne, Captain Jenyns, and veterinary-surgeon Thomas Towers, one man seated on ground with dog; tents and huts in the background. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9230 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

General Cissé, chief of the staff to General Bosquet, & aide-de-camp

Title: General Cissé, chief of the staff to General Bosquet, & aide-de-camp; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 18 x 17 cm. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9312 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Henry Duberly Esqr., paymaster, 8th Hussars, & Mrs. Duberly

Title: Henry Duberly Esqr., paymaster, 8th Hussars, & Mrs. Duberly; Other Title: Captain Henry Duberly and “the dashing” Mrs. Duberly; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 16 x 16 cm. Summary: Henry Duberly standing before Isabella Duberly who is on horseback. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9194 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-68798 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Colonel Clarke, Scots' Greys, with the horse wounded at Balaklava

Title: Colonel Clarke, Scots' Greys, with the horse wounded at Balaklava; Other Title: Colonel George Clarke, Royal Scots Greys; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 17 x 17 cm. Summary: Colonel George Clarke, full-length portrait, wearing uniform, standing beside his horse, Sultan, facing left; horse's reins are held by a man who is possibly a servant; horse's rump is branded “2D” for 2nd Dragoons; encampment of tents in background. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9115 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Roger’s Career as the Crimean War Photographer

The British government made several attempts to document the war through photography, but they all failed for various reasons.

It was at this time, Thomas Agnew of publishing house Thomas Agnew and Sons thought about sending a photographer to the Crimea to document evidence of the war that would help mitigate the negative reports appearing in newspapers.

Thomas during this time had proposed Roger to be the official photographer for the Crimea. Roger purchased a former wine merchant’s van and converted it into a mobile darkroom. He also hired an assistant and traveled the English countryside to test the van.

In November 1854, Roger traveled to Crimea on board the Hecla, under the Royal patronage and with the assistance of the British government.

He took with him his horse-drawn van (converted to a mobile darkroom) carrying all the equipment required for photography:

  • Five large cameras,
  • 700 glass plates stacked in wooden boxes,
  • Several chests of chemicals,
  • Printing frames, and
  • His personal supply of preserved meats, wine, beer, biscuits and horse tackle.
The artist's van

Title: The artist's van; Other Title: The photographic van with Sparling on the box; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 17.5 x 16.5 cm. Summary: Marcus Sparling, full-length portrait, seated on Roger Fenton's photographic van. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9240 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-2319 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

When Roger arrived at Crimea, he had already received huge patronage from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. He photographed the horrors of the war but was reluctant to shoot certain negative aspects of the war for other reasons.

This could be because he was supported by the Royal family and the government, plus he was financed by Thomas Agnew that he had to abide by the sensitive nature of the Victorian rule.

In 1855, Roger made a picture of the Crimean war that became an iconic image “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” and made its name in the history of war photography. Roger describes the scene as,

“…in coming to a ravine called the valley of death, the sight passed all imagination: round shot and shell lay like a stream at the bottom of the hollow all the way down, you could not walk without treading upon them…

In exhibitions across England, one described the image as “hell-like,” an area ‘rough with shot, and bare, stony and blasted as an accursed and unholy place’.

While another wrote that it ‘raises melancholy thoughts of the rude trials to which our brave countrymen and allies have been subjected for a whole dreary year’.

The valley of the shadow of death

Title: The valley of the shadow of death; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 28 x 36 cm. Summary: Dirt road in ravine scattered with cannonballs. Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-35546 (digital file from original item) LC-USZC4-9217 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-2322 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Roger limited his photography to shooting the allies, the care and quality of camp life for British soldiers, the scenes of Balaklava and around, but refrained from photographing the war scenes and their aftermath although he witnessed them.

He had to carefully choose subjects to photograph as no dead, wounded or horror views were to be shown according to the Victorian command.

Thomas Agnew and Sons relied upon Roger’s images as they aimed to make a profit from those images by selling them to soldiers and their families.

As you can imagine, Roger had to overcome several difficulties while photographing the Crimean war. Since he was using the wet-plate collodion process, due to the heat there, he found the developing part very difficult, as it dried out quickly leaving spots and streaks on the glass. Dust and flies were his enemies too.

Despite these difficulties, Roger managed to make around 360 photographs within a 3 month period before returning to England.

When the assault on Sevastapol in June 1855 failed, Roger who was ill with Cholera sold his van, packed up his equipment and sailed out of Balaklava. The fall of Sevastopol in September 1855, was documented by another photographer, James Robertson.

Sebastopol from the front of Cathcart's Hill

Title: Sebastopol from the front of Cathcart's Hill; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 23 x 35 cm. Summary: Distant view of Sevastopolʹ from Cathcart's Hill; on plain are five men and a conical tent. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9261 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Reverend Mr. Butler & officers of the 47th Regiment

Title: Reverend Mr. Butler & officers of the 47th Regiment; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 15 x 19 cm. Summary: Reverend Mr. Butler and four officers, full-length portrait, facing front. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9339 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Major General Estcourt, Adj.-Gen. Major De Morel

Title: Major General Estcourt, Adj.-Gen. Major De Morel, Captain Thompson, Lieutenant-Colonel Blane, Major Kirkland, Lieutenant-Colonel the Honour[able] W.L. Pakenham, officers of his staff; Other Title: Major-General James Bucknell Estcourt and staff; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 18 x 17 cm. Summary: Major General James Bucknell and staff outdoors in front of building, full-length portrait. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9338 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Mortar batteries in front of Picquet house Light Division

Title: Mortar batteries in front of Picquet house Light Division; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 24 x 35.5 cm. Summary: Photo shows five men and three mortars at a mortar battery with bomb-proof shelter. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9300 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-16031 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Lieutenant General Sir Harry Jones, K.C.B

Title: Lieutenant General Sir Harry Jones, K.C.B. Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 19.5 x 16 cm. Summary: Lieutenant General Sir Harry Jones, half-length portrait, standing with arm resting on stone wall. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9315 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Lieutenant General Pennefather, & Captain Wing, Captain Layard

Title: Lieutenant General Pennefather, & Captain Wing, Captain Layard, Captain Ellison, Colonel Wilbraham, Colonel Percy Herbert, Major Thackwell & Dr. Wood, officers of his staff; Other Title: Lieu.t Gen.l Sir J.L. Pennefather & his staff; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 15.5 x 21 cm. Summary: Group portrait with Pennefather seated in the center, ten officers sitting or standing to the left and right of Pennefather. One additional figure appears at far right of the group. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9202 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47533 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Kamara Heights in the distance, artillery waggons in the foreground

Title: [Kamara Heights in the distance, artillery waggons in the foreground]; Other Title: Panorama of the Plateau of Sebastopol in eleven parts (1855); Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 26 x 37 cm. Summary: View of plateau of Sevastopolʹ showing rows of caissons, with tents on the plains in the background. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9191 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Officers of the 89th Regiment at Cathcart's Hill, in winter dress

Title: Officers of the 89th Regiment at Cathcart's Hill, in winter dress, Captain Skynner, Lieutenant Knatchbull, Captain Conyers, Lieutenant Longfield, Captain Hawley; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 17 x 20 cm. Summary: Captain Leslie Skynner, Lieutenant Francis Knatchbull, Captain Robert Rowland Conyers, Lieutenant John Longfield, and Captain Robert B. Hawley, full-length portrait, wearing uniforms, one standing, two leaning against large rock, and two reclining on the ground. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9140 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Lieutenant-colonel Shadforth at his hut & officers of the 57th Regiment

Title: Lieutenant-colonel Shadforth at his hut & officers of the 57th Regiment; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 17 x 21 cm. Summary: Lieutenant-colonel Thomas Shadforth sitting before his hut surrounded by officers in relaxed poses. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9119 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Lieutenant General Sir George Brown G.C.B. & officers of his staff Major Hallewell

Title: Lieutenant General Sir George Brown G.C.B. & officers of his staff Major Hallewell, Colonel Brownrigg, orderly, Colonel Airey, Captain Pearson, Captain Markham, Captain Ponsonby.; Other Title: Lieut.-General Sir George Brown and staff; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 17.3 x 16.7 cm. Summary: General Brown seated, and officers of the Light Division, most standing, wearing uniforms and hats. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9235 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47555 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Nubian servants & horses

Title: Nubian servants & horses; Other Title: Turkish irregulars; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 19.3 x 17 cm. Summary: Two men, full-length portraits, facing front, standing with horses. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9233 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Railway officials, messrs. Swan, Cadell, Middleton, Howse, & Kellock

Title: Railway officials, messrs. Swan, Cadell, Middleton, Howse, & Kellock; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 20.3 x 17 cm. Summary: Five men seated and standing in front of building with tile roof. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9229 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47841 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Major Butler, 28th Regiment

Title: Major Butler, 28th Regiment; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 19 x 16 cm. Summary: Major Percy Archer Butler, full-length portrait, dressed in uniform, seated, holding a sword, with conical tents in the background. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9118 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47530 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Roger and His Photographs after the Crimean War

Rogers’s crimean war photographs offer a record of the history of the war and some of the photographs went on sale in November 1855. By December 1856, Thomas Agnew and Sons disposed of the entire holdings of unsold sets, prints and negatives at an auction.

In September 1855, 312 of Roger’s photographs were exhibited at an exhibit opened at the Water Colour Society's Pall Mall East establishment in London.

Thomas Agnew & Sons issued 337 photographs on published mounts between November 1855 and April 1856.

A complete work of Roger Fenton, consisting of 160 of the photographs, was issued under the title “Photographs taken under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen in the Crimea” by Roger Fenton, Esq.

Another 159 photographs were issued in folios under the following titles:

  • Historical Portrait Gallery (30 photographs)
  • Views of the Camp, scenery, etc. (50 photographs)
  • Incidents from Camp Life (60 photographs).
  • Two sets of panoramas were issued, The Photographic panorama of the plateau of Sebastopol (11 photographs) and Photographic panoramas of the plains of Balaklava and valley of Inkermann (8 photographs).
Sir Henry Rawlinson, Sanitary Commissioner

Title: “Sir Henry Rawlinson”, Sanitary Commissioner; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 32.7 x 25 cm. Summary: This is probably a portrait of Robert Rawlinson (the Sanitary Commissioners are identified on the published mount from the George Eastman House Roger Fenton Series as “Dr. Sutherland Robert Rawlinson, Esq. …”, see no. 128x); full-length portrait, seated with right elbow resting on table, right hand on cheek, facing front. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9371 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-52453 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Two sergeants, 4th Light Dragoons

Title: Two sergeants, 4th Light Dragoons; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 18 x 16 cm. Summary: Two sergeants, full-length view, standing, facing each other; one pouring beverage into a glass held by the other. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9265 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47537 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Zouaves & soldiers of the line

Title: Zouaves & soldiers of the line; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 18 x 17 cm. Summary: Two soldiers standing next to three Zouave soldiers sitting and smoking. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9249 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-2451 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

The cemetery Cathcart's Hill - the Picquet House

Title: The cemetery Cathcart's Hill – the Picquet House, Victoria Redoubt and the Redoubt des Anglais in the distance; Other Title: Panorama of the Plateau of Sebastopol in eleven parts (1855) Plateau of Sebastopol; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 24 x 34 cm. Summary: The cemetery on Cathcart's Hill. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9280 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47538 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Two Zouaves

Title: Two Zouaves; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 19 x 18 cm. Summary: Two French Army Zouaves, wearing uniforms. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9187 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Zouave & officer of the Saphis

Title: Zouave & officer of the Saphis [i.e., Spahis]; Other Title: Zouave & Spahi, attendants of Marechal Pelissier; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 20 x 17 cm. Summary: Zouave, full-length portrait, seated, facing right and Spahi officer, full-length portrait, standing, facing left. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9154 (color film copy transparency); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

View of the lines of Balaclava from Guard's Hill; Canrobert's Hill in the distance

Title: View of the lines of Balaclava from Guard's Hill; Canrobert's Hill in the distance; Other Title: The lines of Balaclava; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 30 x 36 cm. Summary: Men, buildings, and tents on hillside above valley; below in the distance are more tents and hills. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9144 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47117 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

The sanitary commission

Title: The sanitary commission; Other Title: Sanitary commissioners; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 19.5 x 16.5 cm. Summary: Dr. John Sutherland, full-length portrait, sitting on table, facing right, and Robert Rawlinson, full-length portrait sitting on chair, facing left. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9246 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-77794 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

Tartar labourers

Title: Tartar labourers; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 19 x 17 cm. Summary: Group of Tatars at work repairing roadway in Balaklava; wooden hut, “Store 14th Regiment”, in the background. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9238 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-47536 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

The tombs of the generals on Cathcart's Hill

Title: The tombs of the generals on Cathcart's Hill; Creator(s): Fenton, Roger, 1819-1869, photographer; Date Created/Published: [1855]; Medium: 1 photographic print : salted paper ; 24.5 x 34.5 cm. Summary: Cemetery on Cathcart's Hill showing graves and a man standing at the grave of Brigadier General Thomas Leigh Goldie who was killed in action at the Battle of Inkerman. Reproduction Number: LC-USZC4-9222 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-57972 (b&w film copy neg.); Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.

The End of Roger’s Photographic Journey

Roger gave up photography in 1862 after photographing a final series of remarkable still lives after which he auctioned off all of his photographic equipment and negatives. He also resigned from the Royal Photographic Society and returned to practice law.

After being ill for a short period of time, Roger died in 1869.

Roger’s images stand as an example for attempts made in early history to document war through a medium called photography.

The Library of Congress purchased 263 of Fenton’s salted paper and albumen prints from his grand niece Frances Fenton in 1944. To view Roger's full collection at the Library of Congress, head over here.

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About the author

Dahlia Ambrose

Dahlia is a physicist and self taught photographer with a passion for travel, photography and technology. She can sometimes get obsessed trying new photography techniques and post processing styles using Lightroom or Plugins in Photoshop. She occasionally writes articles on topics that interest or provoke her. You can check out her photography on Instagram, 500px and Flickr

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