"I Was Posing for The Photographer Today"

"I Was Posing For the Photographer Today" - Twenty Portraits of H.C. Andersen

 By Curator Ane Grum-Schwensen


H.C. Andersen and photographic technique

In January 1839 Niépce and Daguerre presented their invention to the French Society of Science. The news spread like wildfire. A month later an exited H.C. Andersen wrote to his aging benefactor in Odense, Christian Høegh-Guldberg:

"What is your opinion on Daguerre's invention? I am thrilled, how easy is it not for one to procure famous statues and pictures of scenes most beautiful! In the tropical nature sunlight has such a rapid might that even moving objects is being drunk in. I have great faith in the new sideral light, it must be possible to use this instead of the sun; concave mirrors could be cut and thus gather the sun beams and reflect them onto a face or an object with the same effect as we saw with the experiment in Africa. Oh, our time is indeed the golden age of inventions!"1

As we see H.C. Andersen was very delighted in any technological breakthrough that his day and age presented. He was equally undaunted when it came to testing these new wonders whether it was the railway, the telegraph or the photography.

When it came to this invention the poet's fascination was immense probably because H.C. Andersen was a very visual person. It is reflected in his visual usage of language in the letter and the same goes for his writing and arts in general: the paper cuttings,collages and drawings. One might wonder and vex a little as to why the poet himself never took up the hobby: what wondrous photographs would not have sprung from that? 

H.C. Andersen was very much was in front of the camera. Due to his fascination of this new medium he became one of most frequently photographed persons in the dawn of the invention. He often gave away these photos as calling cards with his signature and a small verse on it. As time went by his surroundings became increasingly amused by this practice and many joked about what they viewed as vanity. Among the jesters were councellor of state, Edvard Collin (1808-96), son of H.C. Andersen's benefactor and former guardian, Jonas Collin Senior.


H.C. Andersens Hus and the portraits

Despite the jests Edvard Collin soon developed an interest for the photos and began colleting them. In 1906, two years prior to the opening of H.C. Andersens Hus, the museum had acquired no less than sixty-two different portraits of the poet from Edvard Collin's daughter-in-law. The sixty-two portraits, which belonged to the Collin family, had been on display at the World Exhibition in Chicago in 1893.

The photographic portraits of H.C. Andersen are - according to Edvard Collin - an exceptional monument bringing us closer to the person H.C. Andersen. Edvard Collin took great effort in expanding the collection as much as possible - just like the museum had tried ever since. The Collin collection forms the very base in the museum's original and contemporary portraits of the poet, a collection which has later grown considerably and now amounts to some 400 photographic portraits. By far and away the largest of its kind.
Still, it is not complete yet: Known photographic portraits of H.C. Andersen are not represented in our collection nor is footage that we know of but do not have access to. It is also possible that footage we have not heard of does exist.

Naturally our attention was drawn to the catalogue from Bruun-Rasmussen's auction 768 in which we became aware that twenty original photographic portraits came under the hammer on February 26 2007.


A  dramatic acquisition

Studying the catalogue soon made us realise that four of the photographic portraits at the auction were not represented in our collection. In addition to this, quite a lot of the photographs were signed or had quirky comments on them.
Our collaborator from The Royal Library, Tove Thage, was about to complete her work: Fotografernes H.C. Andersen (H.C. Andersen's Photographers), and described the collection as quite unique, exceptionally well preserved and indeed originating from the Collin collection. In other words, we had to ensure that this collection could be added in order to complete the public collection in H.C. Andersens Hus which is derived from the same provenance.

The collection was estimated to 15.000-20.000 DKR. Odense Bys Museer has only limited means at its disposal and decided to apply for a grant from The Danish Heritage Agency. On February 12 a sum of 20.000 DKR was granted. The grant and the slender sum of 5.000 DKR from the official account were our means and we were aware that 25.000 DKR was a small sum to bid for the pictures.

It was a crestfallen representative who returned home from the auction. The assigned colleague only had the opportunity to raise her hand a few times before the party was over. Many buyers competed in outbidding each other via the telephone. The collection was sold at hammer stroke 70.000 DKR - fees and expenses not included.

All hope in ensuring the collection seemed at an end had we not learned that the Danish Commission on the Export of Cultural Assets had made reservations, with regards to the photographs, prior to the auction. The proviso clause being the distinct value of the collection: One of the original positive imprints (also known as a vintage imprint) was the only one of its kind as most of the other vintage imprints were worn and faded specimen. The proviso clause stated that the prints were not to be executed abroad without special permission from the Commission. Perhaps the buyer was foreign? Perhaps the exportation would not be granted? Perhaps the buyer would sell the imprints to the Commission? We could do nothing but wait.

At the end of March the Commission received some news: The buyer was from abroad and had applied for permission to export the imprints. In a way it was good news that the buyer was foreign as an exportation ban had already been imposed. Perhaps the buyer would sell them to the Commission?

We held our breaths. If the outcome was an exportation ban then the museum had to offer the buyer the same sum as he had paid at hammer stroke, which was much more than the museum seemingly could afford. The museum applied for supplementary subsidies from The Danish Heritage Agency thus making an acquisition of the photographs possible.

Things seemed to work out well and in May we received great news, the Agency granted the supplementary subsidy and the Danish Commission on the Export of Cultural Assets decided to impose a ban for an exportation of the photographs. We were almost at the end but still had to possess ourselves in patience as the buyer was given three months to decide if he would accept our offer or not; it could result in a so-called "safe-deposit" case. In a few unfortunate cases a foreign buyer, imposed by an exportation ban, may place the cultural assets in a safe-deposit box in Denmark thus make it impossible to exhibit the items to the general public.

Fortunately this was not to happen. In September 2007 we received the happy news: the buyer would indeed resell. We can only surmise which considerations the buyer had prior to this decision. No matter the circumstances the legislation deliberately leaves time for reflection and withdrawal from a decision for foreign buyers of Danish cultural assets.

What could have been a complicated process had a happy ending thanks to a thoroughly professional collaboration between the Commission and the Agency. 

What is the value of these photographic portraits that has enriched H.C. Andersens Hus? They call for a closer examination. No less than seven photographers have taken portraits of a poet they all knew; some very well others merely briefly.


Theodor Collin's H.C. Andersen

The earliest adoption in the collection is connected to the Collin family. There are three imprints from this adoption: Two vintage imprints in the size of calling cards and another later imprint probably fabricated as a post card in the 1930'ies.

Edvard Collin's younger brother Theodor (1815-1902), was a medical doctor who enjoyed photography as a hobby and despite being autodidactichis photos of H.C. Andersen were viewed as rather good. One depicts the poet in front of a paling in Collin's garden in Amaliegade 9, Copenhagen. The dating is somewhat unclear. H.C. Andersen notes in his journal March 15 1862:
"Theodor took my photograph", where as Adolph Drewsen (married to Edvard's older sister Ingeborg) mentions March 18 in his Optegnelser om H.C. Andersen (Notes About Andersen):

"March 18 1862. Andersen has been in a very good mood recently; due to the occasion of the journey to Spain (with Jonas Collin) he has taught himself to smoke two cigars a day, he even smokes during his strolls. He does not take lightly to it and finds it hard to exhale the smoke without pulling faces; we tease him a lot about this, my sons and I. Today, he had his photograph taken in the garden of Amaliegade smoking a cigar but he could not keep it in his mouth and had to hold it in his hand".3

H.C. Andersen was pleased with the portrait, despite it being taken from his left side. Andersen himself preferred his right profile which explains why most portraits show him from that angle. "I was asked to pose like a street singer"4, he wrote, tongue-in-cheek and twinkle in the eye, to Henriette Collin, wife of Edvard.


H.C. Andersen according to Georg E. Hansen

Professional photographer Georg Emil Hansen (1833-91) took several photos of H.C. Andersen over a long period of time. His father, Carl Christian Hansen (1809-91), had taught him the art of daguerreotype. During the 1850'ies Georg Emil Hansen learnt how to produce photographs on paper from glass negatives in Germany. He achieved the honourable position as Danish royal photographer in 1864. H.C. Andersen posed for Hansen on many occasions between 1860 and September 26 1874.

The collection holds two examples of Hansen's skilful work. Like that of Theodor Collin the first one is from late spring/early summer of 1862 shortly before departing for Spain. The journal suggests two dates: April 26 where H.C. Andersen notes: "Visit by Dreyschok, Franz Neruda and Rubinstein, who took me to Windings and went with me to photographer Hansen". And July 19:"Visited Hansen; received twenty-four portraits".

The photo is very much agreeing with the idea of the calling cards: The poet presents himself wearing coat and hat politely awaiting the master of the household. The photo's composition turned out well; furniture and people balance each other and we have reason to believe that H.C. Andersen was very generous with distributing these calling card as well as other prints taken by Hansen when the poet was travelling in Spain.

The second print in the Hansen collection is held in a so-called cabinet size that gained footing around 1865 and was suitable for being put on display. It is eight years older than the first one taken on the veranda at manor house Holsteinborg June 30 1870. H. C. Andersen often visited manor houses such as Holsteinborg, Basnæs and Glorup. The portrait depicts the poet with a rose in his buttonhole holding a bouquet; it is famous from later imprints and often applied. Apart from this print only a very faded and rare one exits. It is presently at The Royal Library.

H.C. Andersen's hostess at Holsteinborg, Duchess Mimi Holstein (1830-76), comments on the portrait:
"Hansen has forwarded the drafts, the one of you I do find superb, dear Head of Department. You look as if you are made of velvet; I do hope you understand what I mean by that?! - your fine features, and oh, what splendid an idea to tousle your hair!"5


H.C. Andersen as Barberon saw him

French photographer Barberon's two exposures and vintage imprints of H.C. Andersen with zoologist Jonas Collin junior, son of Edvard, gain distinction in more ways than one.

After the preliminary cigar practices during spring of 1862 the poet and his young travelling companion left for Spain on July 23. Andersen's intention was to show his gratitude towards both Edvard Collin and the grandfather of Jonas junior. On January 9 1863 they were in Bordeaux heading back home via France.
The past six months had taken its toll on their friendship, which is rather obvious in the two portraits taken by the French photographer on Alleés de Tourny 8. One cannot call the photograph cheerful. Jonas Collin had not yet reached the age of consent - in those days at twenty-four - and Andersen often had to see to that young Jonas did not get into trouble. The assertive and self-opinionated Jonas must have made the poet rather nervous, and this caused conflicts. The tense atmosphere is present in H.C. Andersen's journals, and he concludes:

"Jonas claimed that the sun shone all day long in my room but not in his room; my room was northbound and his was southbound...Jonas claimed the sun was in zenith and then turned northbound, whereas I, on the other hand, said that some matters in nature are not to be disputed by reasonable people, where upon he had the impertinence to leave for town. He does bring me joy and there is plenty more to come! Fare well 1000 guineas but it is in debt, received under pressuring treatment, paid by a foolhardy, self-conscious paymaster".6

The journey - lasting eight months - was a very costly affair, as Johan de Mylius has proved by calculating the expenses: "The journey with Jonas Collin junior (who was the guest of HCA) must have come to approx. 2.774 Guineas. (HCA himself estimated the amount to some 3.400 Guineas, but Edvard Collin estimated it to 2.374 Guineas. In today's currency 2.774 Guineas equals at least 300.000 DKR, of which half covered Jonas' expenses)".7

H.C. Andersen was not the only one who felt the strain on the fellowship. On the back of the calling card in which Jonas has placed a hand in his right side, the twenty-two year old lad noted on January 13 1863: "This is what we looked like, at other times - milder". A humorous and certainly not tame comment!

Barberon's two portraits of the poet with travelling companion give us the opportunity to compare the differences between the French and Danish photographers and their technical skills.
These two imprints are extremely rare. The photography with Jonas holding right thumb in waistcoat, was one of the missing ones in the portrait collection. January 12 1863 H.C. Andersen writes to Adolph Drewsen:

"Jonas and I have had our picture taken on a card, we have but six prints each, I'm forwarding one to you and I will send one to Jonna too, leaving me with two. Do tell me know your opinion, I do not care much for the pose assumed by Jonas but it does rather characterize him, I do hope your dear wife does not find him too thin this time, he eats a steak for brunch and our supper is full; he has grown a beard, as you might have noticed...".8 

Tove Thage describes the vintage imprints as very rare. During her work with Fotografernes H.C. Andersen she attempted to trace them without any luck.


H.C. Andersen through the eyes of Henrik Tilemann

The next and large group of portraits is those by Henrik Tilemann (1835-1923). H.C. Andersen stayed at manor house Frijsenborg during summers in the 1860ies and had five vintage imprints in the size of calling cards format taken there. Henrik Tilemann was a private tutor. Later on he administered the estate and became anindustrious amateur photographer mainly engaged with topographical pictures such as portraits of groups and individuals. 

Henrik Tilemann's portraits are among the most interesting and veracious. Tilemann and Thora Hallager knew the poet well and both spent long periods of time in his company. The original negatives are still in a private collection but the majority of the preserved vintage imprints are in the Collin collection, which H.C. Andersens Hus received in 1906.

The five portraits from the 'new' collection are all from the summer of 1865, where Andersen stayed at Frijsenborg twice: from June 12 -30 and again from July 8 -15. The portraits are unique; they delicately convey the close relation between model and photographer. Author of Det rette udseende (The Proper Appearance), Henrik G. Poulsen comments:
"there is a distinct difference before and after 1865 in terms of the photos of H.C. Andersen, more precisely so after the time with Henrik Tilemann. This kind and intelligent man taught Andersen how to pose".9

Tilemann's portrait manifests a certain presence and air. The journals from the stays at Frijsenborg in 1865 are full of notes on photographic exposures: one gets the impression that every disengaged moment was spent taking Andersen's photo. The actual reason for the exposures was a bazaar held in aid of 108 families who lost their homes due to the great fire in Nørresundby. 

"In order to help the families in Nørresundby Frijsenborg estate appointed a Ladies Committee - lead by Duchess Frijs - to organize a bazaar near Hinnerup station; the duchess gave away more than fifty photo cards of me on which I have written a small piece or verse from my works".10

The portraits of H.C. Andersen sitting and standing in front of the staircase at Frijsenborg are from June 1865. One might think the exposures were from the same day but this is by all accounts not the case: The photography in which a bare-headed Andersen sits on the staircase is probably from June 14. In these luxurious surroundings the poet still had the collectors in mind, especially Edvard Collin and his son Jonas junior (to whom Andersen often collected snails), in a letter to Henriette Collin Andersen writes:

"Bring my kind regards to your husband, Louise and Jonas. Last time I visited Frijsenborg - over a year ago - I told Jonas that I had not encountered one single snail, but he certainly did not believe me; I have searched high and low, in the gardens and the nearest woodlands and have not found one snail... perhaps this may also be of interest... to yourself or rather your husband - as he "also collects" Andersen, I hereby forward two photographs from Frijsenborg, in one of them I'm seated at..."11

More information is connected to the photography where a smiling H.C. Andersen stands in front of the staircase at Frijsenborg, probably taken June 28 1865. In a letter to Henriette Collin the poet writes:
"Let me add yet another photo of myself to your husband's great collection, in this one I'm posing as Gulliver".12 In her reply Henriette responds: "I do like the large portrait but I do not care much about the small one at the staircase... The large one looks alike, it is vibrant and homely".13

Andersen's reference to Gulliver (by Jonathan Swift) is perhaps a jocular hint to the poet's large physical proportions evident in the photo. On the likeness with this figure Andersen's friends Carl Lehmann and Edvard Brandes stated:

"As he stands there against the flowers and staircase he seems 'in a good mood' - on the verge of making a witty remark aimed at the distinguished company he was in". This is how Edvard Brandes remembered Andersen, the photo was that good".14

The other portraits in the Tilemann collection are from a stay in July. From a large suite of photographs in which Andersen is posing on different chairs. It is obvious that model and photographer has felt at ease leaving theirwork unrestrained. H.C. Andersen is smiling; there is a twinkle in his eye. In one picture he greets the onlookers with a sweeping gesture of his hat. Yet another unique calling card which hitherto is the most known original imprint.

But all of them areexceptional as they are so well-preserved. They differ from the other few extant vintage imprints from the same series. One is able to study them closely and admire the work of Henrik Tilemann.


H.C. Andersen according to Bayard & Bertall

One year later H.C. Andersen headed off on yet another one of his journeys to Southern Europe - this time Portugal via Germany, Holland, Belgium and France. On the way he posed for professional photographers in Amsterdam and Haag. In Paris he visited Bayard & Bertalls.

The calling card of the poet wearing an overcoat, chin resting on hand is from April 11 1866 taken at the studio of Émile-Antoine Bayard (1837-91), also a painter and cartoonist, and Charles-Albert d'Arnoux (1820-83), caricaturist and illustrator. Ten years before the latter had illustrated the first French translation of H.C. Andersen's fairy tales, Contes d'Andersen. D'Arnoux used a pseudonym - Bertall, an anagram to Albert. In the journal Andersen writes: 

"[Hetzel and Frølich, editor's note.] took me to the Madeleine to the photographer who drew the pictures to the first issue of the fairy tales; the notorious Stephens had his picture taken there too; Fr[ølich, editor's note,] four portraits was required ...".15

Today, we only know of two of these four portraits. The poet was not pleased with the result. However, he dutifully sent the best print to Edvard: "My photographs from Paris are not good, I'm forwarding the best one that looks like - Meyerbeer".16

Despite the lack of enthusiasm from Andersen, which one understands, this is one of the most untraditional depictions presenting us for a pensive H.C. Andersen and the portrait is one of the most outstanding in the collection.


I.B. Melchior's H.C. Andersen

The next group of pictures are by another Danish amateur photographer who also belonged to Andersen's circle of freinds and thus able to ask the poet to assume a relaxed pose. It was Israel Berendt Melchior (1827-93) - wholesaler, manufacturer and amateur photographer and younger brother of Moritz Gerson Melchior. H.C. Andersen often visited Moritz in his last years. Moritz and his wife Dorothea were very kind towards the poet welcoming him in their home at Højbro Plads and in their country house, Rolighed at Østerbro, where Andersen passed away August 4 1875. The next five photos are from Rolighed.


These five imprints differ from the others in the collection. They are known as the so-called stereoscopes here in the meaning of two almost identical exposures, taken from a different angle by which a three-dimensional effect is obtained when looking at the pictures through a stereoscope apparatus. All five of them are group portraits. 

The earliest of the five depicts H.C. Andersen in the garden at Rolighed in front of the staircase along with friends Carl Bloch (1834-90) and Frederik Christian Lund (1826-1901).

"When Brandes showed this photography to someone he always emphasized that one should note how clever H.C. Andersen looked as he stood there absorbed by conversation: 'there is a man who wants to learn', Brandes commented".17
The portrait of Andersen is central in the composition, where his attitude bears a striking resemblance to the "Gulliver" picture at Frijsenborg's staircase.

The picture is - like the other three stereoscopes from the garden of Rolighed - taken in the summer of 1867. This fine print of H.C. Andersen shows him almost sprawling on the lawn, at ease like in the one from the landing - bouquet in one hand and hat in the other. These photos have not been presented in the portrait collection at H.C. Andersens Hus before. We are very pleased to announce that these well-preserved photos are now part of the collection.

The group picture of H.C. Andersen standing on the staircase accompanied by different members of the Henrique and Melchior families is of a later date, October 2 1870. In the journal he noted: "Visited "Rolighed", had lunch; stayed until 3 pm. Israel took my photograph ...".18

The imposing set-up on the staircase, that recently had been redecorated, was one of the last pictures taken by I.B. Melchior who took many successful outdoor exposures of H.C. Andersen at Rolighed.



Thora Hallager's H.C. Andersen

Female photographers also existed as we see in the last picture of the collection. Hallager is represented by two imprints: a contemporary calling card and a later one in cabinet format. Thora Hallager (1821-84) was the first professional female photographer in Denmark and a very skilful one. Her studio was at the corner of Kongens Nytorv and Lille Kongensgade on the 4th floor; H.C. Andersen occupied the 3rd floor for some years. Thora Hallager was his landlady from 1866-69.

The portrait is not very typical, as it shows Andersen from his left profile. It is from 1867 - either October 10 or 16. In his journal the poet noted: "Posed for Miss Hallager". The picture is also outstanding as we see an exceptionally relaxed H.C. Andersen who must have felt at ease because he knew Thora Hallager well.The poet often used this portrait as his calling card. It must have pleased him.

In addition to the twenty delightful portraits the newly arrived collection contains some very fine added bonuses in the form of three photographic portraits of an ageing Edvard Collin, one of Georg Brandes, inscribed to the Collin family, and one of Fr. Hegel (1817-87), publisher and book seller and later Head of Department, inscribed to Jonas Collin.


Departing and Meeting - A reunion

There are twenty well-preserved photographs in the collection at H.C. Andersens Hus. In fact, they are so well-preserved that expert Tove Thage noted:
" ...imagine some very old photographs which look quite new as if they just came from the photographer that is what they look like! At first, I thought they were forged ..."19

The collection is of priceless national significance with regards to the research on H.C. Andersen and of importance to the history of photography. It is difficult to separate the two. The story of photography is represented by Danish and foreign professional photographers alike. The work of prominent Danish amateur photographers among H.C. Andersen's circle of friends made posing natural for the poet. Tilemann and Melchior displayed innovative, technical skills when portraying the poet. Tove Thage comments:

 " ...the Danes were proficient and dedicated; they were inclined to experiment and would disregard more commercial matters. H.C. Andersen liked to experiment with the new medium thus making room for an exceptional cooperation between photographer and model. On the whole no other Danish portrait photographs from that period can be compared to these representing Denmark in the 1860'ies."20 

These portraits allow us to make H.C. Andersen's acquaintance thanks to Danish amateur photographers and their creative approach to this medium. 

In 2001 the portrait collection of H.C. Andersen became reorganised and digitalised thus allowing us to make the collection available online. Feel free to take a look at them in the digital collections at the website.21 This function is often visited by users and collaborators of the museum and we are pleased to announce that an update of the new and unusual portraits is now available. They have the finest provenance, any 'Andersen' may get. We are even more pleased that they originally were a part of the same Collin collection which is the very core of the collection of H.C. Andersen portraits. 

As mentioned the first photographs are derived from the Collin collection and are some of the earliest objects gathered for display at H.C. Andersens Hus. When the yellow house opened its doors on H.C. Andersen's birthday April 2 1908, visitors could see them hanging on the walls in the room which now comprise a reconstruction of the furniture from the home of H.C. Andersen's maternal grandmother. The small tourist booklet stated:
"On the walls in the front room are pictures deriving from the Collin family whose close relations to A. are well-known from Mit Livs Eventyr (The Story of My Life), there are also two frames with several original photographs of A. (which have been displayed at World Exhibition in Chicago)."22 

The next edition of Anderseniana is to be issued shortly before the museum will be celebrating its 100th birthday. By that time the new estacquisitions can be seen in the museum as a most suitable marking of the event.



1) Letter to Chr. Høegh-Guldberg Feb 5 1839.

2) "Governor A.L. Drewsen's notes about H.C. Andersen. Informed by H. Topsøe-Jensen" in Særtryk af Personalhistorisk Tidsskrift, Hæfte 2, 1943, p. 145.

3) Letter to Henriette Collin June 5 1862.

4) Letter from Mimi Holstein to H.C. Andersen July 12 1870.

5) H.C. Andersens dagbøger, Det Danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab, G.E.C. Gads Forlag, bd. V, 1971, p. 377.

6) Mylius, Johan de: H.C. Andersen - Liv og værk, Aschehoug 1993, p.149.

7) Letter to Adolph Drewsen, Bordeaux Jan 12 1863.

8) Poulsen, Henrik G.: Det rette udseeende - fotografernes H.C. Andersen, Hans Reitzels Forlag, 1996, p. 109.

9) Letter to Edvard Collin, Frijsenborg July 23 1865.

10) Letter to Henriette Collin, Frijsenborg June 20 1865.

11) Letter to Henriette Collin, Frijsenborg July 9 1865.

12) Letter from Edvard and Henriette Collin, København, July 11 1865.

13) Lehmann, Johannes: "Hvordan så H.C. Andersen ud?" i Svend Larsen (red.): Anderseniana, Ejnar Munksgaards Forlag, København, 1953 p. 271-72.

14) H.C. Andersens dagbøger (journals) Det Danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab, G.E.C. Gads Forlag, bd. VII, 1972, p. 80. 'Notorious Stephens': Alexander Hamilton Stephens (1812-83), American PRO slavery politician. Vice-president of the confederation during US civil war 1861-1865.

15) Letter to Edvard Collin, Bordeaux, April 24 1866. Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864) a German-French composer.

16) Lehmann, op.cit., p. 272.

17) H.C. Andersens dagbøger (journals), Det Danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab, G.E.C. Gads Forlag, bd. VIII, p. 418.

18) E-mail from Tove Thage to the writer of this article, Oct 2 2007.

19) E-mail from Tove Thage to the writer of this article, March 2 2007.

20) http://www.museum.odense.dk/andersen/portraet/billedstart.asp?sprog=engelsk 

21) Guide H.C. Andersens Hus in Odense, July 1908, p.5.



"I was posing for the photographer today" - twenty portraits of H.C. Andersen

In 2007 Odense Bys Museer succeeded in ensuring a collection of twenty portrait photographs of H.C. Andersen. The acquisition included a somewhat prolonged and complicated procedure, which fortunate outcome was the result of great efforts from the Heritage Agency of Denmark and the Danish Ministry of Culture.

The collection represents seven different photographers' interpretations of H.C. Andersen portraits. The seven photographers are Theodor Collin, Georg E. Hansen, Barberon, Henrik Tilemann, Bayard&Bertall, Israel B. Melchior and Thora Hallager. The individual portrait is being analysed in this article.

The twenty portrait photographs have a unique national importance for both the research on H.C. Andersen as well as the history of photography. Visionary amateur photographers who were personal acquaintances of the poet took many of the photographs and were thus able to ask Andersen to pose in a more relaxed manner; as a model Andersen himself gladly joined in when it came to experimenting with the new medium.

The collection is also unique because it is exceptionally well preserved. The photographs are in many ways particularly valuable to H.C. Andersens Hus as four of them have not yet been presented in the museum's collections. And others are extremely rare. The sixty-two portraits, which is a pillar in the museum's collection - and have been so since its opening, have a particularly fine provenance as they are acquired from the Collin family. When H.C. Andersens Hus opened its door to the public on April 2nd 1908 the sixty-two portraits were on exhibit in the front room. As part of the celebration of the approaching 100th anniversary we are happy to announce that the collection has been completed with twenty recently acquired portraits from the Collin collection.




Odense City Museums
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