Born in Northwood, Hanley, Staffordshire, England in 1860, Bernard Alfieri was the son of esteemed Pictorialist photographer Charles Alfieri (1827-1894). However, rather than immediately following his father's career path, he chose instead to serve a stationer apprenticeship in Leicester in 1881. He later became the deputy manager of successful printer Thomas de la Rue's stationery department. He married Alice Maud, with whom he would have a son Bernard Jr., and explained in an 1897 profile in Photographic Times it was not his father, but acclaimed landscape photographer Alfred Horsley Hinton, who encouraged him to embrace photography as a vocation. Under Mr. Hinton's editorial tutelage, Mr. Alfieri completed the well-received text, Half Holidays with the Camera around London.
Mr. Alfieri prided himself on being both a Pictorialist artist and devout student of photography. He always kept two sketchbooks within close reach at his studio so that he could sketch his subjects first to completely familiarize himself with the minutest details. He fervently believed that immersing himself in the landscape provided him with additional perspectives that distinguished his works. He recalled, "Nearly all my early and best work was done on about four miles of flat swampy land, called Tilbury marshes. I selected this district because I thought it presented many difficulties to overcome which would bring me a stock of experience." Furthermore, despite his insistence upon technical precision, Mr. Alfieri maintained that art and nature were at their most powerful in a simplistic state, adding, both are "nowhere more simple than near the sea." This is particularly evident in his award-winning photograph, "Against the Sky on the Old Sea Wall." He occupied studios at 55 Walm Lane in Willesden Green (1894-1901) and 70 Mortimer Street, Regent Street, Westminster (1898-1899). Under the pseudonym Master of Musick, Mr. Alfieri was also extremely active within the professional photography community. He became a founding member of the fabled Linked Ring on May 27, 1892, and was involved in the Centre Link from 1893 until its closing in 1910.
1892 The Art Journal, Vol. LIV (London: J. S. Virtue & Co., Limited), p. 76.
1896 The British Journal of Photography, Vol. XLII (London: Henry Greenwood & Co.), p. 35.
1897 Photographic Times, Vol. XXIX (New York: The Photographic Times Publishing Association), pp. 196-197.
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