Clementina Maude, Viscountess Hawarden

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Clementina Maude
The Viscountess Hawarden with Donald Cameron of Lochiel, 1861.
Born Clementina Elphinstone Fleeming
(1822-06-01)June 1, 1822
Dunbartonshire, United Kingdom
Died January 19, 1865(1865-01-19) (aged 42)
London, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Known for Photography
Movement Pre-Raphaelite
Cornwallis Maude (m. 1845)

Clementina Maude, Viscountess Hawarden, née Clementina Elphinstone Fleeming (1 June 1822 – 19 January 1865), commonly known as Lady Clementina Hawarden,[1][n 1] was a noted English portrait amateur photographer[2] of the Victorian Era, producing over 800 photographs mostly of her adolescent daughters.[3][4]


Clementina was one of five children of Admiral Charles Elphinstone Fleeming (1774-1840), and Catalina Paulina Alessandro (1800-1880).[5] In 1845, she married Cornwallis Maude, 4th Viscount Hawarden; the couple had eight children.


She turned to photography in late 1857 or early 1858, whilst living on the estate of her husband's family in Dundrum, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. A move to London in 1859 allowed her to set up a studio in her elegant home in South Kensington. There she took many of the characteristic portraits for which she is principally remembered, many of which include her adolescent daughters Isabella Grace, Clementina, and Florence Elizabeth. The furniture and characteristic decor of an upper-class London home was removed in order to create mise-en-scene images and theatrical poses within the first floor of her home. Hawarden produced albumen prints from wet-plate collodion negatives, a method commonly used at the time.[6]

The Viscountess Hawarden first exhibited in the annual exhibition of the Photographic Society of London in January 1863 and was elected a member of the Society the following March. Her work was widely acclaimed for its "artistic excellence", winning her the medal for composition at the exhibition.

At a Grand Fête and Bazaar held to raise funds for a new building for the Royal Female School of Art she set up a booth where she photographed guests, the only known occasion on which she took photographs anywhere other than her own homes, or in public.[7] Lewis Carroll, an admirer of her work, brought two of his child friends to be photographed at this booth, and purchased the resulting prints.[8]

Hawarden was considered an amateur photographer and while appreciated for her work, never became widely known as a photographer.

Her work is often likened to fellow aristocratic photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, although their aesthetics differ widely.

Her photographic years were brief but prolific. Hawarden produced over eight hundred photographs between 1857 and her sudden death in 1864. During this time she gave birth to three of her eight children. Lady Hawarden's photographic focus remained on her children. There is only one photograph believed to feature the Viscountess Hawarden, yet it could also be a portrait of her sister Anne Bontine.[3]

A collection of 775 portraits were donated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in 1939 by Hawarden's granddaughter, Clementina Tottenham. The photographs were torn, or cut, from family albums for reasons that are still unclear. This accounts for the torn or trimmed corners which are now considered a hallmark of Hawarden's work.[3]

Carol Mavor writes extensively about the place of Hawarden's work in the history of Victorian photography as well as contemporary interpretations of the work. She states, "Hawarden's pictures raise significant issues of gender, motherhood, and sexuality as they relate to photography's inherent attachments to loss, duplication and replication, illusion, fetish." [3]



  1. ^ As the wife of a Viscount Clementina was most formally "the Right Honourable The Viscountess Hawarden". According to the British peerage she should be referred to as "Clementina, Lady Hawarden", or "Clementina Maude", but today her full styles are rarely used.


  1. ^ "Lady Clementina Hawarden" at The Pre-Raphaelites Photographs Exhibition
  2. ^ Robinson, H. (2008). Feminism-art-theory: An anthology, 1968-2000. Oxford [u.a.: Blackwell.,+1968-2000&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwifzuvq787SAhVi2oMKHcBQD0QQ6AEIJzAC
  3. ^ a b c d Mavor, Carol (1999). Becoming : the photographs of Clementina, Viscountess Hawarden (1st ed.). Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822323891. 
  4. ^ Crompton, Sarah (6 May 2016). "She takes a good picture: six forgotten female pioneers of photography". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 9 May 2016. 
  5. ^ "The Scottish aristocrat whose pioneering photography drew admiration from Lewis Carroll". The Scotsman. 
  6. ^ Victoria and Albert Museum. (2015). "Lady Clementina Hawarden: Working Methods." Retrieved 2015-03-14.
  7. ^ Virginia., Dodier, (1999). Clementina, Lady Hawarden : studies from life, 1857-1864. Victoria and Albert Museum. (1st ed ed.). New York: Aperture. p. 89. ISBN 9780893818159. OCLC 41596484. 
  8. ^ Leggatt, Robert. "A History of Photography".