Royal Commonwealth Society : A classroom, Infants’ Department (Girls) Elementary Schools, Valetta

Royal Commonwealth Society

<p> The British artist Alfred Hugh Fisher (1867-1945) was hired by the Colonial office Visual Instruction Committee (COVIC) to produce a photographic record of the landscape and the people of the British Empire to be used as educational tool for schoolchildren. During his journey, from 1907 to 1910, he took and purchased more than 4,000 photographs and created 200 paintings. From these images COVIC produced a series of illustrated lectures and textbooks which were presented as geography lessons to schoolchildren. </p><p> COVIC’s aim was to promote imperial awareness through photography. Alongside photographs depicting the economic, cultural and social life in the British colonies, Fisher also documents educational topics in the empire. This image of a classroom in Malta records children with their teachers. In the foreground the girls, all wearing their white smocks, face the camera ready for the shot. Their position is firm and the set is attentively organized to make everyone visible. The teacher, situated in the last row as to hold his children, is proudly presenting his class to the viewer. Under the arch there are two little girls who probably arrived late. In the background the second teacher faces the photographer while standing at her desk. The boys’ disposition is identical to the girls, providing a clear and organized scene. Fisher carefully staged his subjects in order to provide British children with a glimpse of what a Maltese classroom looked like. </p><p>See Janus record <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='https://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0115%2FFisher%2023%2F6111A'>here</a></p>


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