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Mrs. Craik Holding Cat

A work made of salted paper print.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of salted paper print.


c. 1858


Attributed to Benjamin Mulock (English, 1829–1863)
English, 19th century

About this artwork

Dinah Mulock Craik, a prolific English novelist and poet, was the subject of a series of over 25 photographs now in the Art Institute’s collection. These portraits range from typical studio sittings to more casual photographs of Mrs. Craik in her garden; it is possible that at least some of them were produced by her younger brother, Benjamin Mulock, who learned photography (and later died in an asylum in 1863). In Victorian England, amateur photography required a knowledge of chemistry and optics, funds to purchase equipment and chemicals, and ample leisure time to experiment. Happy accidents often resulted in these early photographs, such as the appearance here of a two-headed cat, the result of the cat moving its head during the lengthy exposure demanded by early photographic technology.


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Photography and Media


Benjamin Mulock


Mrs. Craik Holding Cat


England (Artist's nationality)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1853–1863


Salted paper print


Image/paper: 11.7 × 9.6 cm (4 5/8 × 3 13/16 in.)

Credit Line

Harriott A. Fox Endowment

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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