Carroll, Lewis: Xie (Alexandra) Kitchin as Chinese tea merchat, ca. 1876, Inv. Nr. 2003-5001/2/21769, National Media Museum, Bradford
The famous author of 'Alice in Wonderland' liked to photograph young girls. Alexandra 'Xie', his favourite model, is shown here sitting on tea chests as if on packed suitcases. Dressed in traditional Far Eastern costume, she is posing as a Chinese tea merchant. Lewis Carroll is thus alluding on the one hand to the expensive semi-luxury ingredient of British tea culture; on the other hand, the way the photo is staged bears witness to the beginnings of art photography. It is not reality that Carroll is portraying here, but a world he has created using authentic set pieces.