About this artwork

Bedford was a skilled landscape photographer and this is one of his most spectacular views. The Mer de Glace is a glacier in the French Alps, just North of Mont Blanc. Its name derives from the wave-like appearance of the snow and ice. Bedford faced enormous difficulties working at such high altitudes and he may well have used dry collodion plates prepared in advance in order to reduce the amount of equipment he had to carry. His work reflects intense contemporary interest in mountaineering and exploration.

Francis Bedford

Francis Bedford

Francis Bedford trained as an architect and practised as a lithographer, turning to photography in the early 1850s as an aid to his work. He had close links with the British monarchy, photographing objects in the royal collections for Queen Victoria and, in 1857, taking on a commission from Prince Albert to photograph his birthplace in Bavaria. In 1862 he accompanied the Prince of Wales on a four-month tour of the Middle East, making nearly 150 views which he exhibited and published on his return.