British photographic history

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Publication and lecture: The Early Photographers of Perthshire 1839-1918

In 1839, the world woke up to the amazing new invention of photography. This revolutionary medium created a gold rush of eager practitioners. Victorian Perthshire, in common with most areas of Britain, produced its own adepts of what was called the ‘Black Art’. Today, the majority of Perthshire’s early photographers have been forgotten; much of their work has been lost or destroyed by unfortunate events, with fire an occupational hazard in photographic studios. Fortunately, examples survive in archives and private collections.

The aim of The Early Photographers of Perthshire is to shine a light on the Big County’s part in Scottish photographic history. It is also a celebration and archive of the contributions, large and small, made by Perthshire’s early photographers. Be they, David Octavius Hill, ‘one of the nest calotypists in photographic history’; Jessie Mann and Lady Kinnaird, ‘rivals for the accolade of Scotland’s first female photographer’; or James Moyes, ‘who seems to have combined his commercial photography business with his job as a gravedigger.’

The Early Photographers of Perthshire has been written by two Perth locals: professional photographer Roben Antoniewicz and historian Dr Paul S. Philippou. This is the pair’s second collaboration. The first resulted in the publication in 2012 of the very well-received, Perth: Street by Street.

Roben Antoniewicz’s links to Perthshire photography began in the mid-nineteenth century. In the 1850s, his great, great, great grandfather David Wood of Wood & Son, printers and booksellers, sold photographic papers in his shop at 52 High Street. Later, his great grandfather, also called David Wood, began commissioning local photographers for the firm’s Woodall Series of ‘Perthshire view’ postcards. Roben’s personal photography was celebrated in 2003 when he won the annual ‘Schweppes Photographic Portrait Prize’ run by the National Portrait Gallery (London). The winning picture, a portrait of his granddaughter Mairead, was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery. Roben is fascinated by photography and over a period of many years he has enjoyed discovering photographs made by Perthshire photographers, many of which appear in this book.

Dr Paul S. Philippou is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of History, University of Dundee. In 2015, he was awarded a PhD by the university for his thesis, ‘There is only one P in Perth – And, it stands for Pullars!: the Labour, Trade-Union, and Co-operative Movements in Perth, c1867 to c1922’. Post-doctorate work by Paul includes ‘Mutually Hostile Parties?: the co- operative movement in Perth and its relationship with the labour movement, 1871-1918’Scottish Labour History (2016). Paul has written other books: Spanish Thermopylae: Cypriot Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39Perth: Street by Street (with Roben Antoniewicz); Battleground Perthshire: Two Thousand Years of Battles, Encounters and Skirmishes; and Born in Perthshire (the latter two with Rob Hands).

£15, Tippermuir Books, ISBN: 9780995462328. 

Order the book here:

A lecture based on the book takes place on 15 December at Perth's A K Bell Library. See more here:

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