photographer, photo historian,
previously Honorary Researcher, Department of Photography, National Gallery
Myers, née Tennant, was born in London in
1856, the youngest of three daughters to Charles
Tennant, M.P. and Gertrude Barbara Rich Collier.
Her mother, who had spent the first 24 years of her
life in France, was an intimate of Flaubert, Gambetta
and other influential French intellectuals. Mrs Tennant's
salon in London was frequented by many of the leading
members of London society, including William Gladstone,
Sir John Ruskin, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and the painters
George F. Watts and Edward Burne-Jones. Eveleen and
her sister Dorothy played active roles in their mother's
social life. Celebrated beauties, both were painted
by Frederick Watts and John Everett Millais, the
portraits being shown at the Royal Academy. Dorothy
later married the explorer H.M. Stanley.
Eveleen Myers married the writer Frederick William Henry Myers (1843 - 1901)
in 1880. The Myers moved to Leckhampton House, Cambridge which had
been designed for them by the architect William C. Marshall. The house
presently forms part of Corpus Christi College. Frederick and Eveleen
Myers had three children, Leopold Hamilton (1881 - 1944);
Silvia Constance (1883 - 1957),
and Harold (1886 - 1952).
Contemporary reports suggest that Eveleen Myers took up photography
in 1888 with a view to taking portraits of her children. Myers may
also have been influenced by her childhood experience of being photographed
by Julia Margaret Cameron during a visit to the Isle of Wight.
Her photographic work seems to have been largely accomplished in the
period 1888 to the mid 1890's. Following the death of her husband,
Meyers left Leckhampton, with its studio and darkroom, and devoted
herself to the publication of her husband's papers.
In addition to both formal and informal photographs of her children
and topographical photographs of her residence, Leckhampton House,
Myers rapidly established a considerable reputation as a portrait photographer.
In 1889 she produced a series of portraits of Robert Browning with
images of Gladstone, Chamberlain, Balfour and Galton the following
Four photogravures by Myers were published 1891 as Issue 7 of Sun Artists,
a journal published in eight parts between1889 and 1891. Each Issue
was devoted to the work of a single British photographer, illustrated
by four hand-pulled photogravures, together with an introductory descriptive
essay. Issue number 7 was devoted to Myers, with an introductory essay
by John Addington Symonds.
his essay, Symonds states "such is the excellence
of her work that invaluable contributions to art...
are to be expected from the mastery she has attained..".
A portrait of Browning from the 1889 series was published
in The Magazine of Art,1890, p.265. Myers also exhibited
with the Brotherhood of the Linked Ring in the 1890's.
Others were less laudatory. Jane Fletcher quotes
a contemporary critic writing in the Photographic
News "The Rebekah [sic]...has all the merit
of good intention, but goes no further; the art does
not hide the art".
Myers, as with Cameron and Alice Hughes (1857-1939), had entry to British
political and intellectual elites of the period, firstly through her
mother's salon in London and then through her husband's professional
connections at Cambridge University. That these were, in the main,
men is perhaps remarkable only to a present day audience.
The major holding of Myers' work is in the National Portrait Gallery,
London which holds 29 miscellaneous prints and 2 albums containing
542 prints relating to her carer, life, family and friends. Her work
was featured in Edwardian Women Photographers in the National Portrait
Gallery (1954); Faking it: Between art photography and advertising,
1850-1950, National Museum of Photography, Film and Television (2004);
National Portrait Gallery (UK) collection
Artists, Keegan Paul, Trench & Trubner,
London 1889-1891 (A set of Sun Artists is held
by the National Gallery of Australia)
Val Where women dare to tread?, Women's Art Magazine, pp. 6-9, vol
59, July-August 1994
Jo Marketable maidens, Women's Art Magazine, pp.
45-46, vol 59, July-August 1994
William A. Love & desire. Photoworks, Thames & Hudson,
Jane Faking it: Between art photography and advertising,
1850-1950, RPS Journal December
2004, pp. 454-457
Honorary Researcher in Photography
National Gallery of Australia,