Friday 23 October 2009

Lumière in the Archives

The recent visit by the Scottish Society for the History of Photography to the Archives gave us a chance to showcase our photographic collections. As well as the 130,000 images in the Michael Peto collection described in the previous blog we have thousands of other prints, slides, negatives and plates.

One of the most significant of our holdings is a collection of autochrome stereoscopes taken by Andrew Burn-Murdoch. Burn-Murdoch insisted on using Lumière slides which, viewed through a stereoscopic machine, give a rich 3D effect. The autochrome process he used was unusual and the slide collection is probably the largest in Scotland. Watch out for later blogs describing the process in more detail.

Other items which caught the interest of the SSHoP were a box of beautiful ambrotypes of members of the wealthy Cox family, some 19th century photographs of Polynesia, and the photographic collection of Herbert Torrance a medical missionary in Palestine. Notable in the latter are a series of 7 albums of hand tinted early 20th century scenes from the Holy Land. The vivid nature of the colours can be seen from the reproduction on the right. If anyone has any information about these photographs or the processes used to produce them we would be interested to hear from you.

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