Bill BRANDT, Parlourmaid and under-parlourmaid, ready to serve dinner Enlarge 1 /1


Germany 1904 – Great Britain 1983

  • France 1929, England from 1931

Parlourmaid and under-parlourmaid, ready to serve dinner [Dinner is served] 1933 Title Notes: image appears in Brandt's The English at Home p. 6. Also reproduced in 'The Perfect Parlourmaid', Picture Post, 29 July 1939
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Dimensions: image 23.0 h x 11.8 w cm sheet 24.9 h x 11.8 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1985
Accession No: NGA 85.1957

Brandt used contacts of his rich relatives to gain access to the upper class milieu. The image of two parlourmaids behind the fully laden dining table was taken at the country house of one of Brandt’s banker uncles, situated near Redhill in Surrey. It appeared in The English at home and was reproduced in Verve magazine later the same year opposite a Matisse painting of a dinner table. The parlourmaid, addressed by the family by her surname Pratt, was a favourite subject. Brandt photographed her running his Uncle Henry’s household and also on her day off: an image of her at her home in Putney appears in Brandt’s book, A night in London of 1938. The demeanour of the older, experienced servant contrasts with the open expression of the young girl. ‘This is Bill Brandt striking home in every sense’, remarked fellow photographer Walker Evans.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra