Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Lady Grey: Eighteenth Century Inspired Editorial

Browsing the internet for eighteenth century inspired photography, I was so pleased to come across a fashion editorial photographed by Tim Walker for Vogue Italia (March 2010), entitled Lady Grey. Not only are the images dripping with eighteenth century influence, even the title of the article is a nod towards the location of the shoot itself. Howick Hall in Northumberland played host to Walker and his creative team, and was the one-time home of Charles, 2nd Earl Grey; none other than the scandalous lover of the ultimate eighteenth century icon; Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. After a fire in 1926, the house fell into a crumbling state of disrepair which Walker found perfect for the feel of his photo-story,

"I love the fact that the house in this photoshoot is falling into decay, its inhabitants have become part of the building, they will keep on living here forever, only appearing when other people come; it's as if the house were a living being, composed of the building itself and its former dwellers."

Walker effectively takes the sad state of decay within the house and uses his models as extensions of the building. From their roughly powdered hair to their dishevelled looking clothes, to my imagination they seem like a raggle-taggle troupe of eighteenth century players; their costumes faded and mismatched, their powder and make-up applied and re-applied as they travel the country seeking both obliging audiences and shelter.

There are strong elements of the theatrical and the masquerade in Tim Walker's images. The lighting and colours are soft, muted and atmospheric, and the whole effect is as if the viewer is peering through a gauzy veil (like the model above).

There is such artistry and a true sense of story in these photographs. The costumes are whimsical and ridiculous, but beautiful and evocative at the same time. It feels as though time has marched on but at the same time stood still, as our eighteenth century-inspired models melt and fade into the fabric of the house.

Images and quote courtesy of Vogue Italia.


  1. Those pictures are really beautiful and artistic. I love it when fashion photography goes beyond "taking pictures of clothes" on a nice looking model... Hope you're having a great week, Love from London x

  2. I love the first two sets of photograps. That's where fashion photography becomes art. And that's why I love Vogue, they do it best.

  3. Gorgeous aren't they? I really believe that fashion photography can often be art too, seeing past the clothes and creating a story. Vogue do it beautifully, as do Vanity Fair.

  4. These are so beautiful. Wouldn't you just love to be paid to dream up ideas like that? I would. Thanks for sharing! x

  5. I definitely would. I would also love to sport a big do like an eighteenth century lady for a day. Just a day, mind you. Not to the point where there's wildlife taking residence in it! x