Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 18:55 UK

Museum buys rare historic photos

A photograph by Olive Edis bought by Cromer Museum
Olive Edis took a famous series of pictures of Sheringham fishermen

A museum in Cromer has paid 42,000 to buy a collection of Edwardian photographs including rare colour plates of Norfolk fishermen.

The works are by renowned photographer Olive Edis, who had homes in London and at Sheringham in Norfolk.

Cromer Museum, which bought the photographs with help from a number of art funds and museums, aims to put some of the collection on display by 2009.

The photographs were taken between 1905 and 1955.

They were offered to the museum by a private owner, the late Cyril Nunn, who himself was a photographer in Sheringham and worked very closely with Mrs Edis (1876-1955).

The photographs include sepia images of Cromer and Sheringham fishermen and a rare series of autochromes, the first true colour photographs.

Olive Edis
In 1919 Olive Edis record the war work of the women's services

Mrs Edis was famous in society for her portraits and the collection also contains photographs of famous people including King George VI, David Lloyd George, Thomas Hardy and Cromer lifeboat hero Henry Blogg.

Mrs Edis took up photography in 1900 when she was given her first camera by her sister.

She opened her studio in Church Street, Sheringham, in 1905 and by 1910 her photographs were appearing in national newspapers.

She was one of the first women to use the autochrome process, which was invented in France in 1907, and even patented her own autochrome viewer known as a diascope.

In 1919 she was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum as the only official woman photographer to record the war work of the women's services.

Examples of her work are held by the Imperial War Museum, the National Media Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

Jamie Everitt, area museums officer for North Norfolk, said: "This is one of the most important acquisitions Cromer Museum has ever made and we couldn't have done it without the support from the funders and the Friends of Cromer Museum, for which we are extremely grateful."

A photograph by Olive Edis bought by Cromer Museum
The pictures will go on display at Cromer Museum in 2009

The museum was awarded 12,000 from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council / Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund.

It also received 7,500 from The Art Fund, the UK's leading independent art charity, and 2,500 from the Friends of Cromer Museum to purchase the photographs.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) provided a grant of 20,900 to complete the purchase and enable the museum to put the photographs on display.

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