Typologies, or the study of people of different ethnic “types” and cultures, was a popular amateur pursuit of the late 19th century. Underlying such examination was the presumption that the observing society was the norm and all “others” were the "exotics"; indeed this was the established view amongst most of the educated middle-to-upper class in 19th century London. In 1916 George Bernard Shaw experimented on the subject of human typology with his play Pygmalion, a story about Eliza Doolittle, a London Cockney flower girl whose phonetics Professor Henry Higgins wagers he can retrain in language and social behavior in order to pass her off as a high society debutante. At the core of this experiment is the historic debate over how we become who we are—whether we are influenced more by nature or by the nurture of our socio-cultural environment. This idea deeply interested Hoppé who, as one of Shaw's friends, may have taken his cue in selecting the same London’s street types who became the subjects in Shaw's play. English charladies, maids, and flower sellers were brought into his studio and photographed. Later he sought his "types" on the street. He published these studies in two books: Taken From Life, with text by J.D. Beresford, 1922, and London Types: Taken from Life with texts W. Pett Ridge, 1926. Hoppé continued a lifelong interest in making portraits of the ordinary working man and woman in each of the diverse cultures he encountered.

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German Worker, 1921

Bavarian Woman, 1921

Cornwall, c.1918

Home Workers, 1921

The Original Nippy, 1924

The "Pearlies", 1922

German Worker, 1928

Worker, Muhlheim, 1928

Worker, 1928

Chimney Sweep, c.1932

Farmer, Sussex, 1932

Thatcher, Sussex, 1925

Highly Respectable, 1921

Jewish Type, 1921

Prime of Life, 1921

Jewish African Type, 1921

English Type, 1921

Bavarian Woman, 1921

Sinhalese Man, 1929

Vedic Scholar, 1929