Land of Make Believe
A central aspect of the Hyman Collection's holidings of British Art addresses masquerade, performance, costume, ritual, parade. There is a strong thread of fantasy and a variety of works that respond to eccentricity, constructions of identity, and the heritage industry. From the drama of the street to more internal monologues, these mini fictions question the authenticity of what is shown.
In 1903 the photographer H.S. Mendelssohn asserted that "Portraiture is now in the hands of the women". This was a remarkable development. Just a few years earlier there had been only one West End photography studio run by a woman but by the Edwardian period women had risen to prominence. A lead was provided by Alice Hughes, whose example inspired others such as Lallie Charles and her sister Rita Martin to open portrait studios, but women also served as photojournalists as with the prominent example of Christina Broom and the less well known work of Kate Pragnell.