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Oscar Gustav Rejlander

Born: Sweden, 1813
Died: Bedford, England, 18 January 1875
Nationality: Swedish-English

uncertain - probably son of Swedish army officer


uncertain, perhaps self-taught painter; day-long photography lession with assistant of William Henry Fox-Talbot (1853)



1830s - working in Rome as portraitist and copyist

1841 - moves to Lincoln, England

1845 - opens studio in Wolverhampton

1853 - begins photography

1855 - exhibits photographs at Exposition universelle (Paris), wins bronze medal

1857 - exhibits Two Ways of Life at Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition; attracts support of Prince Albert

1858 - exhibits Two Ways of Life at Photographic Society of Scotland - officials hung a curtain to cover the scantily clad exemplars of Vice

1862 - moves to London

1869 - hired by Charles Darwin to provide photographic illustrations for The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872)

died impoverished


Italy (c. 1830-1840; 1852)

Commissions from: 

Charles Darwin

Important Artworks: 

Night in Town or Homless and Poor Jo, c. 1860 (Royal Photographic Society). Used by Shaftesbury Society for more than a century to advertise conditions of homeless children

Rejlander made photographic portraits of many famous people, including Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll, Gustave Doré, and Prince Albert.