Today the Rare Books team in Special Collections made a fantastic find! They uncovered a 1930s photobook containing images of Classical Greek architecture, views and sculptures. Published in French, this book is illustrated with sumptuous photogravures which really do credit to the artistry of photography and its dissemination in the unique medium of the photobook.

(This work will be added to the university library catalogue shortly)

A great way to cap off the week for all of us!

-MB. Photographic Archivist

Guests from the National Archives having a sneak peek at the 1848 “Isabella Album” of early Scottish calotypes, held in Special Collections.

A sample from the Maitland Dougall collection on display for our special guests from the conservation team at the National Archives of Scotland.

A heavily handled gelatine silver print also shows extensive silver mirroring. This example is part of the teaching collection from a course on the Identification of 20th Century Photographs being held this week in Amsterdam. Our growing collection of recent and modern prints in Special Collections makes this sort of knowledge especially important for assessing the preservation guidelines needed for the various material types used over the past 100 years. - RN

Artist Sean Dooley paid a visit to Special Collections today bringing some copies of his recent body of work, After Life. Stunning wet-darkroom prints of taxidermy collections have made several appearances at museums and galleries across the country.

Lecturer Luke Gartlan and Professorial Fellow Robert Hillenbrand from the School of Art History met in Special Collections today with the editors of Stereoscope Magazine to discuss the significance of the Ordnance Survey of Jerusalem, a rare publication from 1865 held in our Photographic Books Collection.

Stereoscope will publish the highlights from this interview and discussion soon!

Photographic Archivist

The Special Collections Rare Books Team coordinated a preview of selections of the Photographic Books Collection at Martyrs Kirk today. In attendance were School of Art History lecturers Natalie Adamson and Luke Gartlan, Visual Resources Curator Andrew Demetrius, several postgraduate PhD and Masters students from the History of Photography Programme as well as members of the Photographic Collection Team. A great dialogue was had and it is clear that the collection is going to see increasing use for research and teaching!


Every year the university Publications Dept. creates and commissions photography about the University of St Andrews and its students. This is a screenshot of a milestone for the university’s archiving of its photographic production and legacy. In short, the Special Collections Division have built a comprehensive digital infrastructure which manages the storage, documentation and use of photographic resources, and very importantly, the automatic transfer of the Publications Dept.’s digital photographs to Special Collections at the flick of a switch. What used to take months to process now takes about 40 seconds! This screenshot shows the confirmation of the first transfer of material from their department to ours!

It’s not much to look at, but with all the time it saves, the Photographic Collection team can focus on cataloguing more great treasures from our collection for the public to enjoy.

Fanny and Donald Playfair. This calotype is actually a composite with Donald pasted sitting next to his mother. It is a rather convincing example with only the slight variation in tone and fading. (ALB19-24-2)