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Warburg, Agnes (1872–1953)

Warburg, Agnes (1872–1953)

English pictorialist photographer. Born in 1872 in London, England; died in 1953 in Surrey, England; daughter of Frederick Warburg and Emma Warburg; educated at home by governesses.

Exhibited at the Photographic Salon of the Linked Ring (1900); continued showing with Linked Ring for nine more years; helped found the Halyon Women's Club and exhibited there (1914); exhibited at the London Salon of the British Photographic Society and the Royal Photographic Society (1916); was a founding member of the Royal Photographic Society's Pictorial Group (1920); helped found the Royal Photographic Society's Colour Group (1927); left London during World War II.

Born in London in 1872, Agnes Warburg first took up photography around 1880, following in her older brother John's footsteps. Agnes was an early experimenter with the autochrome and Raydex color photographic processes, and was one of the foremost pictorialists of the early 20th century. As snapshot photography became more and more accessible to the new middle-class, the pictorialist movement sought to bring art back into photography through complex composition and intricate printing methods.

Warburg, like other pictorialists, preferred to portray nature as more dignified for having been controlled and tamed by the human hand. Her photographs emphasize not only the beauty of the natural world, but the beauty of natural things as cultivated and ordered by man. Warburg photographed everywhere she went, from Britain to Sweden, France, and Spain and later to Africa and Yugoslavia in the 1930s. She eventually settled in a fittingly domesticated landscape in Surrey, England, and died there in 1953.


Williams, Val. The Other Observers. London, England: Virago, 1986.

Jacquie Maurice , freelance writer, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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