The Crimean War photographs of Roger Fenton (1819-1869) represent one of the earliest systematic attempts to document a war through the medium of photography. He was commissioned by the publisher Thomas Agnew at the insistence of Prince Albert.

Fenton spent less than four months in the Crimea (8 March-26 June 1855), during which time he broke several ribs and suffered from cholera. However, despite the extremely trying conditions, he managed to produced 360 large-format photographs.

Due to the awkward size of his photographic equipment, Fenton was limited in his choice of motifs, and because of the long exposures required was only able to produce pictures of unmoving objects – mostly posed pictures. While these photographs document the participants and landscape of the war, there are no actual combat scenes, nor are there any scenes showing the war's devastating effects.

Sir Joseph Paxton ordered a number of Fenton prints from Agnew and Sons (Manchester) in early 1856, and these were compiled into two albums for the 6th Duke of Devonshire. Both albums were kept firstly at Chiswick House and then Compton Place, Sussex. When the library at Compton Place was sold by auction in 1954, both albums left the collection. This album was re-purchased in 2003.

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