Another 300 images are now available online from our 19th century photograph albums. The contents of three more albums have been digitised: two feature prize winning images by members of the Amateur Photographic Association (founded in 1861); the third is a fascinating ‘photographers logbook’ owned by Fanny Pickard (born in 1847).
The Association photographs (Dougan 101 and Dougan 102) are primarily landscapes, often featuring scenes of leisure or labour in idyllic rural settings, perhaps reflecting the preoccupations of Association members who had the time and resources to pursue photography as a hobby. Scenes in Scotland include images of Loch Katrine and ’woodcutters in the highlands’.
By contrast, some of the subjects in Fanny Pickard’s album (Dougan 108) are quite mundane (the corner of a street or building, repeated images of a greenhouse). What makes them interesting is that the captions often include a note of the photographic process used for the negative and, occasionally, the exposure time. These are a valuable source of information for anyone interested in the early history of photography, particularly experimentation by amateurs.
Fanny Pickard was born in County Durham and the north-east England is the location for many of her photographs. These include a unique series of images taken at intervals between October 1872 and April 1874, which document the construction of the ‘Elephant Tea Rooms’ in Sunderland, built for her father-in-law, the grocer William Grimshaw. Other aspects of her life are reflected in portraits of friends and family, and views taken by professional photographers including Francis Frith, probably collected while she was on holiday in the Lake District and south coast of England.
Categories: Special Collections
Tags: 19th century, Amateur Photographic Association, early photography, Elephant Tea Rooms, Fanny Pickard, Francis Frith, Lake District, landscape photography, photographs, photography, preservation, social history, Special Collections, Sunderland, Victorian albums, William Grimshaw