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    The Brides of Christ image that has been bequeathed to the V&A. Photograph: Eve Arnold/Magnum

    Eve Arnold's Brides of Christ finds new home at Victoria and Albert Museum

    Maev Kennedy

    A photograph by Eve Arnold of young women in wedding dresses and elaborate veils on their way to become brides of Christ as nuns has been bequeathed to the V&A.

    It is the first acquisition by the museum of a work by the photographer who died in January just short of her 100th birthday.

    The signed and inscribed gelatin silver print was given by Arnold to the late Robin Warwick Gibson, a former chief curator at the National Portrait Gallery where he worked on establishing the photography collection and mounted a major exhibition of Arnold's work in 1991. He died in 2010 and left the print to the V&A through the Art Fund.

    Arnold was renowned for winning the trust of her subjects and capturing them in intimate moments, whether celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe, or the women the photographer captured in a pool of light from a cloister window. The photograph is one of a series on the lives of nuns that Arnold took during the mid-1960s, which included images of women in different convents at work and prayer. The full title of the V&A's new addition is A Meeting of the Brides of Christ on their Wedding Day to their Lord at the Nunnery in Godalming, Surrey.

    Martin Roth, director of the museum, said the V&A was thrilled to add the image to its vast photography collections, and described the image as "a splendid example of the work of Eve Arnold, one of the finest photojournalists of our time".

    There are plans for a future display of the print in the V&A's photography gallery.

    Maev Kennedy



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    Publish date: 6th Mar, 2012

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