Olive Edis

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Mary Olive Edis, later Edis-Galsworthy (3 September 1876 - 28 December 1955) was a British photographer who was famous for autochrome phototographs and portrait photography. She served as a war artist in World War I.[1]


File:Olive Edis Self Portrait.jpg
Olive Edis. Autochrome self-portrait

Olive Edis was a daughter of Arthur Wellesley Edis, Professor of Gynaecology at the University College Hospital. In 1903 she and her sister Katherine opened a studio in Sheringham, Norfolk where they specialised in portraits of local fisherman and members of the local gentry. She later had studios in Farnham, Surrey and Ladbroke Grove, London. Edis worked with platinum prints and from 1912 she pioneered colour autochrome photography. Her sitters included George Bernard Shaw, Emmeline Pankhurst and the Duke of York.[2]

Edis was one of the first women photographers to make use of the autochrome process and she patented her own design of autochrome viewers, termed diascopes. In 1920 she was commissioned to create advertising photographs for the Canadian Pacific Railway and her autochromes of this trip to Canada are believed to be some of the earliest colour photographs of that country.[3]

She joined the Royal Photographic Society in 1913 and was elected a Fellow in 1914. [4] She was appointed an official war artist and photographed British Women's Services and the battlefields of France and Flanders between 1918 and 1919 for the Imperial War Museum.[2][5][6] She married a Cambridge academic Edwin Henry Galsworthy, a cousin of the novelist John Galsworthy. She died in 1955.[7]

Cromer Museum in Cromer holds a large collection of her work including prints, autochromes and glass plate negatives.[8]



  1. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/54348. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Witness: Women War Artists. Catalogue for the exhibition at Imperial War Museum North 7 February 2009 – 19 April 2009
  3. Olive Edis (1876-1955) at Luminous-Lint. Accessed 10 March 2013.
  4. From information supplied by the Royal Photographic Society, 5 March 2015.
  5. Kathleen Palmer (2011). Women War Artists. Tate Publishing/Imperial War Museum. ISBN 978-1-85437-989-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Amanda Mason. "We Sent A Photographer To 1919 France.Here Are Her Photos". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 15 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Portraits of Olive Edis at the National Portrait Gallery, London
  8. Cromer Museum - Olive Edis collection Retrieved 14 August 2015

External links