In August 2015, Norfolk Museums Service (NMS) was awarded an £81,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant to tell the fascinating story of Olive Edis, Britain’s first official female war photographer.
Back in 2008 Cromer Museum was offered a large collection of over 2,000 images made up of prints, glass plate negatives and autochromes (the first commercially available colour process) from Edis’ studios in Sheringham, Cromer, Farnham and London. Cromer Museum raised £40,000 of funding which not only paid for the collection itself but also a two year image digitisation project, storage in archivally stable boxes, a display within the Museum and a teacher’s pack.
Now, with the grant from HLF and additional funding from the Friends of Cromer Museum, the Olive Edis project has been able to share the collection with the world and boost awareness of Olive Edis’ inspirational life and work.
A major exhibition at Norwich Castle between 8th October 2016 and 22nd January 2017 brought her story to life, attracting over 50,000 visitors, and a travelling exhibition of her war photography, The Road to Ypres: The War Photography of Olive Edis, set off on tour in March 2017. The exhibition will tour throughout 2017-19. Brand new displays at Cromer Museum opened on 1st March 2017 and now provide a permanent home for the Olive Edis collection.
Over the last 18 months young people have had the opportunity to follow in her footsteps with practical photography sessions, research and drama workshops. A series of workshops and talks started in March 2017 and will be on offer throughout the summer season and beyond.
This blog accompanies the project, giving insight into the life and work of this pioneering woman. The majority of posts are from Liz Elmore, Project Assistant for the project, but there are occasional guest posts too.
As part of the project, we have published a book about the life and work of Olive Edis. Fishermen & Kings: The Photography of Olive Edis by Alistair Murphy and Elizabeth Elmore is available from the gift shops at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery and Cromer Museum. You can order a copy by post by contacting Maria Wong, Retail Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning Norwich Castle on 01603 495897. A member of our Visitor Services team will be able to connect you to the shop. The book will also be available at future venues for our travelling exhibition, The Road to Ypres: The War Photography of Olive Edis, where possible.
The Olive Edis Project ends on 1st September 2017. The blog will continue to be maintained by museum staff, but posts will be less regular after this date.
Olive Edis: Britain’s First Official Female War Photographer has been supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to share her work and story with a wider audience.