Victorian Photocollage

The Art of Victorian Photocollage is an amusing exhibition currently on at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In the mid to late 1800’s as photography became increasingly popular, aristocratic women began creating unusual collages by placing photographs of human heads on, among other things, animal bodies. These were then placed in imaginary landscapes which were typically watercolours they had made. This created humorous, and often bizarre results. I had children use images of their favorite musicians to create collages in the same vein as these Victorian photocollages.


  • watercolour paper
  • watercolour paint
  • printed images of favorite musicians
  • glue stick

1. Begin by having a look at the MET website where they have examples of the Victorian photocollages on show. Next, have children decide what kind of scene they would like to create eg. a garden where they replace the flowers with pictures of people’s heads.

2. Have them paint their backgrounds in watercolour. While this is drying, print and cut out the heads of their favorite musicians and any other elements they would like to add. You can either use magazines for this, or print up images from the internet.

3. Place the heads on the watercolour background and glue down once you are happy with the composition. And there you have your Victorian-inspired photocollage. FYI, this show will be coming to the Art Gallery of Ontario from June 5-September 5, 2010.

Kate Edith Gough, Victoria and Albert Museum, London


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