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Photographic Portraits by Lafayette from the Collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London



Barbara Borkowy graduated from history of art at Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland. After a few years working for the prestigious Institute for the Conservation of Monuments in Cracow, she moved in 1984 to London where she worked as a researcher for the Lafayette Project – a privately sponsored venture aimed at cataloguing the photographs of the newly discovered Lafayette archive for both the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) and the National Portrait Gallery (NPG).

She was invited to participate in the research for photographic exhibitions of Madame Yevonde, Dorothy Wilding, James Abbe, Lafayette and Catharine Weed Barnes Ward – staged by the National Portrait Gallery.

Barbara has also contributed towards the creation of an extensive database of Victorian and Edwardian photographers based on the copyright records kept at the Public Records Office in London. In doing so she was able to document the hitherto enigmatic artist of Polish origin who was active in Paris and London – Walery, Count Stanislaw Ostroróg.

After a time spent at the Bridgeman Art Picture Gallery, where she initialised contacts and co-operation with East European collections, Barbara is now head of the photographic library of Lloyd’s List, the world's oldest newspaper.


Russell Harris, a free-lance curator and translator, studied Oriental Studies at Balliol College, Oxford, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Asiatic Society. He is a contributor to the Dictionary of National Biography and various international journals and has written books on Indian royal portraits from the Lafayette archive held by the V&A Museum. He has also translated literary and political works from French and Arabic.

Russell is the co-author with Hélène Alexander, Director of The Fan Museum, Greenwich, of a book on fans in the Lafayette archive. He is a regular contributor to the Cracow-based Biuletyn Fotograficzni and writes features for the Lahore-based magazine Libas.

He is the curator of exhibitions of late-Victorian and Edwardian portrait photographs in cooperation with the British Council, the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Fan Museum, Greenwich, the Bucharest History Museum, the Linz Landesgalerie and the Islamic Arts Museum of Malaysia.

Russell and Barbara are also the curators of the exhibition Daisy of Pless: The Happy Years, which has been seen at the the Pszczyna (Pless), Łańcut and Kozłówka palace museums in Poland.

All texts copyright Barbara Borkowy and Russell Harris 2007