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After the war

Photograph of the dry docks in Sevastopol after they were destroyed by the allied forces. The photograph shows piles of rubble with the harbour behind. In the middle of the rubble a tall mast still stands. One ship can be seen in the water to the left, sl

The Docks after the Explosion ©

Fenton left the Crimea on 22 June 1855, so missed the fall of Sevastopol. He arrived back in Britain on 11 July. Queen Victoria saw a selection of his work in August, whilst she was at Osborne House, and Fenton visited France in early September to show his photographs to the Emperor.

Fenton also began preparations for the display of his work at numerous venues across Britain. Hundreds of prints would have been required for the 26 venues identified so far, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Exeter, Cardiff, Belfast and Dublin. Fenton also managed to photograph some of the significant individuals he had been unable to capture in the Crimea, in order to complete his commission for Agnew’s.

The photographs were extraordinarily popular with the public. One publication stated that two million visitors had seen the photographs by the end of March 1856. It is unlikely that this translated into financial success for Fenton, however. At the end of 1856 Agnew’s sold the negatives and remaining prints to a rival printseller, who continued to sell the work at a much lower price. Fenton continued his association with the royal family, travelling to Balmoral in September 1856 where he photographed the royal children.