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Twin exhibitions chart the life and work of photography pioneer Olive Edis

PUBLISHED: 11:59 06 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:00 06 June 2018

Photograph by Olive Edis, whose work is on show at Sheringham Museum
Photo: submitted

Photograph by Olive Edis, whose work is on show at Sheringham Museum Photo: submitted

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More than 60 people turned out to the launch of twin exhibitions at Sheringham Museum charting the life and work of one of the most highly regarded photographers of the 20th century.

Sheringham Museum supporter Nona Gray dressed as Olive Edis to officially open twin exhibitions charting the life and work of the pioneering photographer.
Photo: Tim GrovesSheringham Museum supporter Nona Gray dressed as Olive Edis to officially open twin exhibitions charting the life and work of the pioneering photographer. Photo: Tim Groves

Featuring portraits by Olive Edis, who ran a studio at Sheringham for 50 years, the two shows, which also include letters and memorabila, map the pioneering photographer’s career, from war artist, to photographer of the rich and famous.

Born in London in 1876, Ms Edis opened her first studio, in Church Street, Sheringham, in 1905.

Sheringham Museum visitors looking at photographs featured in an exhibition charting the life and work of pioneering photographer Olive Edis.
Photo: Tim GrovesSheringham Museum visitors looking at photographs featured in an exhibition charting the life and work of pioneering photographer Olive Edis. Photo: Tim Groves

As her demand for her skills as a portrait photographer grew, she began dividing her time between London and north Norfolk, opening further studios in Notting Hill, Cromer and Farnham, Surrey, and taking some of the earliest colour photographs using the ‘autochrome’ technique developed in France by the Lumiere brothers in the early 1900s.

Her subjects ranged from fishermen, to famous figures including Emmeline Pankhurst, David Lloyd George, King George VI, and writers George Bernard Shaw and Thomas Hardy.

A photograph of a north Norfolk fisherman by Olive Edis, who enhanced some of her pictures with paint
Photo: submittedA photograph of a north Norfolk fisherman by Olive Edis, who enhanced some of her pictures with paint Photo: submitted

A thirst for adventure saw her travel to Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, and the Amazon and, as the first official female war artist, she photographed the battlefields of France and Belgium between 1918 and 1919 for the Imperial War Museum.

After her death in 1955, Ms Edis’s ashes were interred at Sheringham cemetery.

Photograph by Olive Edis, whose work is on show at Sheringham Museum
Photo: submittedPhotograph by Olive Edis, whose work is on show at Sheringham Museum Photo: submitted

Her photographs are on display at venues including the National Portrait Gallery, the Imperial War Museum and Cromer Museum which, with 2,000 photographs, has the largest collection of her work.

Sheringham museum chairman of trustees Tim Groves, said the two exhibitions were of “huge” historical importance, both to the museum, and to the town.

Photograph taken by Cyril Nunn of Olive Edis, whose work is on show at Sheringham Museum
Photo: submittedPhotograph taken by Cyril Nunn of Olive Edis, whose work is on show at Sheringham Museum Photo: submitted

He added: “They look at the different aspects of her life that made her such a successful and influential photographer, who not only photographed the people of Sheringham, but also high society.”

The exhibitions, entitled Olive Edis, The Road to Ypres and A Life in Focus, 1876-1955, run at Sheringham Museum until September 23. Admission is £4 (£2 children) and opening times are 10am-4.30 daily (Sundays midday-4pm). For more information, visit www.sheringhammuseum.co.uk

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