British photographic history

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A 'new' McGlashon stereoview of Melbourne

Edinburgh photographer Alexander McGlashon travelled to Australia in late 1854, remaining in Melbourne until May 1857, running a photographic business based in 7 Collins Street East. Sadly very few of his photographs from that period are known to survive. It was therefore with some excitement that I recently uncovered a “new” stereo.

Edinburgh Council has an archive of glass plates that they have incorrectly attributed to Thomas Begbie. Recently the full archive has been made available on the internet. One of these items, no 11656, is described as a “copy of an American Stereocard” and is dated as being taken by Begbie in 1887. The view is clearly not a Scottish scene so presumably as it was known that Begbie lived for most of his life in Scotland someone took a stab at describing this stereo in a way consistent with the attribution of the archive to Begbie.

In fact looking at the online image there is nothing to suggest that this is a copy of another stereo; more importantly it is not an American view but is clearly a very early view of Collins Street in Melbourne; indeed the address 6 Collins Street East can be seen on one of the properties. Similar McGlashon views of Melbourne are held by the state Library of New South Wales, by the National Museum of Scotland and by the George Eastman Museum.

Edinburgh Council, which has been reluctant to correct the Begbie misattribution, has been informed of this discovery.

See: hhttps://www.capitalcollections.org.uk/index.php?WINID=1574687520640

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Comment by Alex. Sinclair on November 27, 2019 at 12:40

Hi Stephen,

I have Darrah's book, published in 1977, and there is indeed a McGlashon image of Collins Street on page 135, although it is a different image from the one above. Your friend is very fortunate to own a McGlashon original of Melbourne.

Alex

Comment by Stephen Michael Barnett on November 27, 2019 at 10:42

My dear collector friend here in South Australia has a good comment on this 

Hi Stephen

Have got Darrah’s book, “The World of Stereographs”? On page 135 is a McGlashon view of Collins Street Melbourne. About 35-40? Years ago, I acquired this very image from Darrah’s estate.

Best wishes

Ron Blum”

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