The Village Choir

The Village Choir

Exhibited in the Linked Ring’s IV Exhibition of The Photographic Salon at the Dudley Gallery in London, (1.) The Village Choir by John Dumont was mentioned the following year in press accounts from several photographic journals-the first being by Hector McLean in The Photographic Times:

Mr. John E. Dumont’s “Village Choir” is a resourceful and inventive “subject” photograph, which, not overstepping the bounds of Nature, gives form to ” imagination’s airy wing,” in so far as it sets back the hands of Time, and introduces us to an interesting old world set of people, who can be easily conceived as varying much psalm-singing with some occasional demure flirtation. The chief drawback pervading the above is that its tonality is “Emasculated.” Mr. Dumont will, I know, pardon my thinking this a faulty detail worth the mentioning. (2.)

And this curious observation regarding unsightly facial hair in the form of a mustache in Dumont’s photograph by critic Gleeson White in The Photogram of 1896 (published in early 1897):

In The Village Choir (154), by John E. Dumont, a pleasant group of four singers in old-world costumes is spoilt by the mustache of the figure to the left, which ruins the effect of the group, for the face of this model suggests to-day, and only to-day, consequently the whole thing becomes merely a tableau vivant and not a picture. It is worth insisting upon this importance of preserving the unity of a subject. Directly you arrange a model’s hair in the mode of to-day, or allow a modern cut in his beard or mustache, the anachronism ruins the effect of the work, no matter what pains have been taken.  (3.)

engraved: lower left corner in margin: Copyrighted 1895 By John E. Dumont.


1. Exhibition catalogue #154: 1896 Catalogue of The IV Exhibition of The Photographic Salon: Dudley Gallery-Piccadilly: September 24-November 7, 1896
2. excerpt: in: The Two Chief Photographic Exhibitions: in: The Photographic Times: New York: February, 1897: p. 72
3. The Great Exhibitions. Criticism by Gleeson White, with Notes by “A Mere Technician.”: in: Photograms of the Year 1896: London: Dawbarn & Ward, Ltd.: 1897: p. 80

The Village Choir

Image Dimensions13.8 x 15.4 cm January

Support Dimensions21.5 x 28.5 cm