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Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection

This exceptional collection of photographs, negatives, publications, and ephemera represents two generations of work by Canadians Minna Keene (1861–1943) and her daughter Violet Keene Perinchief (1893–1987). Donated to the RIC by their family descendants, the archive illustrates the unique phenomenon of a professional mother-daughter photography practice, which operated successfully for many decades. Before settling in Canada in 1913, the German-born matriarch worked in South Africa and England, where she gained international acclaim and earned the honour of becoming the first woman admitted to the prestigious Royal Photographic Society. Minna’s Pictorialist compositions include portraits, still life, landscape and nature studies, and scenes of everyday life, created using a diverse range of printing techniques and materials. Violet Keene Perinchief learned photography alongside her mother, accompanying Minna on her 1914 trip to document the sublime landscape of Western Canada, commissioned by the Canadian Pacific Railway. As the manager of Eaton’s Portrait Studio in Toronto between 1933 and 1948, and at the family’s long-running studio in Oakville, Ontario, Violet specialized in portraits of subjects ranging from local clientele to notable personalities. Featuring variant prints of the same image as well as the corresponding original negative—and, in some cases, related reproductions in print publications—this comprehensive collection provides an extraordinary resource for the study of the working methods of these two pioneering photographers.

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Woman in white dress holding a large flower. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 1

Minna Keene, Winifred Douglas-Pennant, ca. 1913, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Group of young children standing around the Bishop of London. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 2

Minna Keene, Bishop of London, 1907–1908, albumen print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A seated woman wearing traditional dress. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene
Fig. 3

Minna Keene, A Fruit Vendor of Buckeburger, ca. 1908, gelatin silver print with hand retouching. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Fig. 4

Minna Keene, Our Malay Washerwoman, 1903–1913, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Studio portrait of a child facing right, looking up, hands clasped. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 5

Minna Keene, Portrait of an East Asian Child, 1903–1913, gelatin silver print with hand retouching. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Portrait of a woman holding a large vessel with flowers on her head with her right hand and a large basket of flowers in her left hand by her waist. She is looking into the camera. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 6

Minna Keene, South African Flower Seller, 1903–1913, salt paper print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020 

A negative of a portrait of a woman holding a large vessel with flowers on her head with her right hand and a large basket of flowers in her left hand by her waist. She is looking into the camera. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 7

Minna Keene, South African Flower Seller, 1903–1913, gelatin on glass negative. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Two women sitting in a dimly lit living room, one knitting while the other holds a baby. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 8

Minna Keene, Motherhood, 1906, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A woman standing and knitting on the side of the street, wearing a long dress and hat. A basket with a ball of yarn in it is on the ground beside her. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 9

Minna Keene, Petitioning Suffragette Knitting on the Street, 1907–1908, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A silhouette walking two horses by rope uphill. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 10

Minna Keene, Saskatchewan, 1914–1915, gelatin silver print with hand retouching. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Timber framed buildings behind railroad tracks with mountains behind. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 11

Minna Keene, Village of Timber Frame Buildings with Mountains and Train Tracks, 1914–1915, carbon print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Landscape view of a river flowing through trees and mountains. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 12

Minna Keene, View of Forked River Through Forest and Mountains, 1914–1915, carbon print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A landscape view with plants in the foreground and a mountain scene in the background. Photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 13

Minna Keene, Mountainous Landscape with Foxgloves, 1903, carbon print with hand retouching. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A landscape view with plants in the foreground and a mountain scene in the background. Photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 14

Minna Keene, Mountainous Landscape with Foxgloves, 1903, carbon print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A cat looking directly into the camera. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 15

Minna Keene, Portrait of a Cat, 1900–1930, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020 

A bundle of fruits with an empty wine glass sitting beside them. Mounted on beige paper with the words “fruit study” written underneath. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 16

Minna Keene, Fruit Study, 1908–1930, gelatin silver print with hand retouching. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A poster with the title “Keenes Nature Studies,” advertising classes to learn about budding plants such as flowers, fruits and seeds. Two photographs of leafy flower plants in the middle. Halftone print by Minna Keene.
Fig. 17

Minna Keene, Keene's Nature Studies, ca. 1903, halftone print booklet. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A bound scrapbook spread featuring a page with a typewritten letter from the Photographic Society of Great Britain and a page featuring four studio portraits titled “The African World.”
Fig. 18

Minna Keene, [News Cuttings Scrapbook], 1899–1937, bound scrapbook with various ephemera. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A studio portrait of a bearded man looking into the camera, holding a small cylinder object in his hand. Toned gelatin silver print by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 19

Violet Keene Perinchief, George Bernard Shaw, ca. 1940, toned gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A man in a suit and circle glasses leaning his arm on a sculpture of a man’s head. Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 20

Violet Keene Perinchief, Bust of Stefanson Sculpted by Emmanuel Hahn, ca. 1938, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A dancer in front of a white wall doing a curtsey, peering towards the ground. Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 21

Violet Keene Perinchief, Serge Lifar, ca. 1935, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A profile of a woman in a fur coat holding a cigarette looking to the right. Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief
Fig. 22

Violet Keene Perinchief, Diana Boone, Toronto Society, ca. 1940, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A woman wearing large hoop earrings and a headscarf looking directly into the camera. Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 23

Violet Keene Perinchief, African Appeal, Phyllis Marshall, ca. 1935, gelatin silver print with hand retouching. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Studio portrait of a woman holding a baby, she looks at the baby while the baby smiles, looking up. Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 24

Violet Keene Perinchief, Lady Bessborough, 1933–1935, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A negative portrait of a woman sitting down with her hand on her cheek and the other on her lap looking towards the camera. There is a vase of flowers beside her. Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 25

Violet Keene Perinchief, Portrait of Amelia Earhart, 1932, gelatin silver negative. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A portrait of a woman sitting down with her hand on her cheek and the other on her lap looking towards the camera. There is a vase of flowers beside her.  Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 26

Violet Keene Perinchief, Portrait of Amelia Earhart, 1932, gelatin silver negative [digitally reversed]. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Woman in white dress holding a large flower. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 1

Minna Keene, Winifred Douglas-Pennant, ca. 1913, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Group of young children standing around the Bishop of London. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 2

Minna Keene, Bishop of London, 1907–1908, albumen print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A seated woman wearing traditional dress. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene
Fig. 3

Minna Keene, A Fruit Vendor of Buckeburger, ca. 1908, gelatin silver print with hand retouching. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Fig. 4

Minna Keene, Our Malay Washerwoman, 1903–1913, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Studio portrait of a child facing right, looking up, hands clasped. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 5

Minna Keene, Portrait of an East Asian Child, 1903–1913, gelatin silver print with hand retouching. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Portrait of a woman holding a large vessel with flowers on her head with her right hand and a large basket of flowers in her left hand by her waist. She is looking into the camera. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 6

Minna Keene, South African Flower Seller, 1903–1913, salt paper print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020 

A negative of a portrait of a woman holding a large vessel with flowers on her head with her right hand and a large basket of flowers in her left hand by her waist. She is looking into the camera. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 7

Minna Keene, South African Flower Seller, 1903–1913, gelatin on glass negative. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Two women sitting in a dimly lit living room, one knitting while the other holds a baby. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 8

Minna Keene, Motherhood, 1906, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A woman standing and knitting on the side of the street, wearing a long dress and hat. A basket with a ball of yarn in it is on the ground beside her. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 9

Minna Keene, Petitioning Suffragette Knitting on the Street, 1907–1908, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A silhouette walking two horses by rope uphill. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 10

Minna Keene, Saskatchewan, 1914–1915, gelatin silver print with hand retouching. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Timber framed buildings behind railroad tracks with mountains behind. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 11

Minna Keene, Village of Timber Frame Buildings with Mountains and Train Tracks, 1914–1915, carbon print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Landscape view of a river flowing through trees and mountains. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 12

Minna Keene, View of Forked River Through Forest and Mountains, 1914–1915, carbon print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A landscape view with plants in the foreground and a mountain scene in the background. Photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 13

Minna Keene, Mountainous Landscape with Foxgloves, 1903, carbon print with hand retouching. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A landscape view with plants in the foreground and a mountain scene in the background. Photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 14

Minna Keene, Mountainous Landscape with Foxgloves, 1903, carbon print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A cat looking directly into the camera. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 15

Minna Keene, Portrait of a Cat, 1900–1930, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020 

A bundle of fruits with an empty wine glass sitting beside them. Mounted on beige paper with the words “fruit study” written underneath. Black and white photograph by Minna Keene.
Fig. 16

Minna Keene, Fruit Study, 1908–1930, gelatin silver print with hand retouching. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A poster with the title “Keenes Nature Studies,” advertising classes to learn about budding plants such as flowers, fruits and seeds. Two photographs of leafy flower plants in the middle. Halftone print by Minna Keene.
Fig. 17

Minna Keene, Keene's Nature Studies, ca. 1903, halftone print booklet. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A bound scrapbook spread featuring a page with a typewritten letter from the Photographic Society of Great Britain and a page featuring four studio portraits titled “The African World.”
Fig. 18

Minna Keene, [News Cuttings Scrapbook], 1899–1937, bound scrapbook with various ephemera. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A studio portrait of a bearded man looking into the camera, holding a small cylinder object in his hand. Toned gelatin silver print by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 19

Violet Keene Perinchief, George Bernard Shaw, ca. 1940, toned gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A man in a suit and circle glasses leaning his arm on a sculpture of a man’s head. Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 20

Violet Keene Perinchief, Bust of Stefanson Sculpted by Emmanuel Hahn, ca. 1938, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A dancer in front of a white wall doing a curtsey, peering towards the ground. Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 21

Violet Keene Perinchief, Serge Lifar, ca. 1935, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A profile of a woman in a fur coat holding a cigarette looking to the right. Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief
Fig. 22

Violet Keene Perinchief, Diana Boone, Toronto Society, ca. 1940, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A woman wearing large hoop earrings and a headscarf looking directly into the camera. Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 23

Violet Keene Perinchief, African Appeal, Phyllis Marshall, ca. 1935, gelatin silver print with hand retouching. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

Studio portrait of a woman holding a baby, she looks at the baby while the baby smiles, looking up. Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 24

Violet Keene Perinchief, Lady Bessborough, 1933–1935, gelatin silver print. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A negative portrait of a woman sitting down with her hand on her cheek and the other on her lap looking towards the camera. There is a vase of flowers beside her. Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 25

Violet Keene Perinchief, Portrait of Amelia Earhart, 1932, gelatin silver negative. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020

A portrait of a woman sitting down with her hand on her cheek and the other on her lap looking towards the camera. There is a vase of flowers beside her.  Black and white photograph by Violet Keene Perinchief.
Fig. 26

Violet Keene Perinchief, Portrait of Amelia Earhart, 1932, gelatin silver negative [digitally reversed]. The Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection, Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of the Sturrup Family, 2020