Is this 1875 photograph the earliest Stonehenge family snap?

An 1875 photograph, believed to be the earliest family photograph taken at Stonehenge, will go on public display for the first time today as part of a new exhibition. The photo was sent to English Heritage by the descendants of Isabel, Maud and Robert Routh, who are pictured in a horse and carriage enjoying a day out at the stones. English Heritage is asking for people to get in touch if they know of an earlier family snap at Stonehenge.

Following last year’s call to mark 100 years of public ownership of the monument, English Heritage was inundated with images spanning three centuries. ‘Your Stonehenge – 150 years of personal photos’ features 148 of these images with 10 specially selected by Guest Curator Martin Parr. Collectively, the photos reveal Stonehenge as a backdrop for romance, poignant moments and enduring memories.

The most recent photo in the exhibition is taken by Parr himself at the 2019 Autumn Equinox, and features an unknown couple taking a selfie against the backdrop of the stones. English Heritage hopes to track down the people photographed and provide them with a signed copy of Martin’s image, taken on what will no doubt have been a day at Stonehenge they will always remember.

Parr’s kissing-selfie. Is this you? © Martin Parr/MAGNUM PHOTOS

Martin Parr said: “I first photographed Stonehenge years ago and it was fantastic to be invited back to photograph it again for this exhibition. I loved looking at the images that people sent in. They really show what the stones mean to people and how our relationship with a site like Stonehenge has changed and yet stayed the same through time. I want to find the couple in the image I took at Autumn Equinox and present them with a copy of their photo, and I’d really love to see the picture that they were taking at the time!”

Susan Greaney, English Heritage Historian, said: “People have been visiting Stonehenge for centuries, for all sorts of reasons, and taking photos of themselves and their loved ones in front of the stones since the very earliest days of photography. The monument has provided a constant backdrop to millions of family memories and, in some cases, has even played a part in changing the course of people’s lives. Our captivating new exhibition shows just how we are all a part of Stonehenge’s story and it is a part of ours.”

Do you have a family photo taken at Stonehenge dating back earlier than 1875 or is it you in Martin Parr’s Autumn Equinox ‘Kissing Selfie’ photo? Please get in touch with us at YourStonehenge@English-Heritage.org.uk

‘Your Stonehenge – 150 years of personal photos’ runs from 12 December to late August 2020.

Photo caption: An 1875 photograph, believed to be the earliest family photograph taken at Stonehenge, courtesy of the Routh Family.