The photos of Hans Christian Andersen

"It is only the daguerreotype and the photograph that provide the right appearance."
- The Fairy Tale of My Life.

If you want to know a bit more about Hans Christian Andersen, you could hardly do better than by looking at some photographs of him. And in this respect, Denmark possesses a unique repository:

Hans Christian Andersen had already stepped onto the pathway to fame, when the photograph was Invented in1839, and since Andersen was just as unspoiled and youthfully interested in his own appearance as photographers were in immortalizing the famous author, the result was that, apart from his other services, Hans Christian Andersen became the most thoroughly photographed person in the infancy of the history of photography.

Hans Christian Andersen was photographed alone and in groups, standing, sitting and lying, from every possible angle, from the front and from the back. He was photographed in daguerreotype and on salted paper, for cartes-de-visite and cabinet card and stereoscopic photography. And he was photographed by some of Europe's leading portrait photographers as well as greater and lesser local masters and other amateur photographers.

There is no count of all the sittings. The preserved material contains approximately 175 different photographs in all and covers approximately the first 30 years of the history of photography and approximately the last 30 years of Hans Christian Andersen's life. It is not too much to call this as a national treasure. Since Andersen and his friends also provided the pictures with a wealth of lively commentary in journals and letters, it becomes possible to form a vivid picture of Andersen himself on display.

The present introduction to the photographs of Hans Christian Andersen with accompanying captions is an abridged extract from the book, Det rette Udseende (The Right Appearance), published by Hans Reitzels Forlag, by author Henrik G. Poulsen.

The original pictures may be found at the Danish Royal Library, the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense, the Frederiksborg Museum, Frijsenborg Manor, Danmarks Radios Billedarkiv (Radio Denmark's Picture Archive), and among individual private owners. Special credit to photographer Fie Johansen for having magically conjured contemporary copies from the still existing, original glass plates.

In addition, we would like to thank Hans Reitzels Forlag and Henrik G. Poulsen for making the digital photographs available to hca2005.com.

Copyright: Henrik G. Poulsen and Hans Reitzels Forlag.

The photos of Hans Christian Andersen