About this artwork

James Craig Annan's photogravure ‘The White House’ of 1909 is now considered to be an important and early example of an image that is both a formal composition and casual snapshot. Annan carefully set up the view of the house and boats, but waited until the punt had drifted into exactly the right position before taking his photograph. He then reworked the image, emphasising certain areas and blurring others, so that in the end only the canopy of the barge in front of the house boat remains sharp. The house and boats belonged to George Davison, a photographer and former Managing Director of Kodak in Britain. The boy in the punt boat is his son Ronald.

James Craig Annan

James Craig Annan