Frederick H. Evans: A Man of Catholic Interests
West, Alana Annette
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“Frederick H. Evans: A Man of Catholic Interests” considers the ways in which art, literature, theatre, music, and politics were essential elements in shaping the photographic work of Frederick H. Evans (British, 1853-1943). Key to this study is the appreciation of the social circles in which Evans circulated. Evans was connected to important figures that emerged from the Aesthetic movement, such as craftsman William Morris, illustrator Aubrey Beardsley, and playwright George Bernard Shaw. Praised for his architectural photography, Evans was much more than an architectural photographer, and he worked in a variety of genres, including portraiture and landscape. Evans contributed to the period in which he lived not only through his photographic work, but also through his writing, publishing, lectures, and involvement in the photographic community. Chapters focus on various elements of Evans’s life, including his relationship with the written word as a bookseller, writer, bibliophile, and publisher; his political views and how these were expressed in his study of Kelmscott Manor, the country home of William Morris; his social connections as illustrated through his portraiture; different aspects of performance as an important part of his life, as seen through a series of photographs he made of the cast of Mrs. Warren’s Profession; and the influence of literature upon his landscape work. While this retrospective consideration cannot recreate the artwork as it was seen and experienced at the time, this approach can explain how Evans’s wider interests and social connections were an integral part of his creative process. In many ways, Evans was a point of convergence and connected people and ideas through his photography. Therefore, this thesis argues that Evans’s photography responded in meaningful ways to what was occurring artistically, socially, and politically during the Victorian and Edwardian periods, and in doing so places his work within a cultural context.