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A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere     Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Links to pages with Photos of Groups   Frequently Asked Questions

  Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Links to Dumbiedykes pages  Link to Granton pages  Link to Leith pages   Link to Newhaven pages   Links to Portobello pages   Link to My Recent Talks

 

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The Royal Scottish Society of Arts

 

The Royal Scottish Society of Arts

LONDON, PARIS, EDINBURGH - 1839

PARIS and LONDON  -  1839

Daguerre and Talbot

On 7 January 1839, Daguerre announced, from Paris, his discovery of photography. 

William Henry Fox Talbot responded on 25 January with a display of his work given at the Royal Institution, and on 31 January 1839 with a lecture to the Royal Society.

Talbot read his paper on 31 January: "Some Account of Photogenic Drawing" to the Royal Society in London.  This paper was published the following month, and encouraged others to experiment.

Almost immediately, the Edinburgh's learned societies took an interest in these discoveries.

EDINBURGH  -  1839

Meetings of RSSA

As early as 27 March 1839, and again two weeks later, on 10 April 1839, Andrew Fyfe, Vice President of the Society of Arts for Scotland, gave lectures on photography to his Royal Scottish Society of Arts in Edinburgh.

Dr Fyfe's lectures were not merely reports of the Talbot's invention.  They were Dr Fyfe's accounts of how he had attempted to improve upon the process announced by Talbot, together with a display of some of his results.

 

The Royal Scottish Society of Arts

EDINBURGH  -  27 March 1839

EDINBURGH  -  27 March 1839

Meetings of RSSA

In their report of the year's Meetings, the RSSA reported that on 17 March 1839:

"Dr Fyfe made a few remarks on the properties of compounds of silver, more particularly their being darkened by the action of light;  so that paper besmeared with them, and exposed to light became dark coloured.  Hence the process of photogenic drawing.

The compound employed by Mr Talbot is Chlorid, but Dr Fyfe  stated that he preferred Phosphate, not only because it is extremely sensible to light, but also because it is applied more evenly and uniformly to the paper.

It gives a pale yellow tinge, so that it is thus easily known when the paper is equally spread over with it.  The proportions commended are a saturated solution of phosphate of soda, diluted with three or sometimes four of water, and a solution of lunar caustic, diluted with six of water, the phosphate being first applied."

Dr Fyfe also referred to preserving the image, and commented that he had not been successful in his use of sea salt as recommended by Mr Talbot.  He had also found great difficulty in applying iodide of potassium, recommended by Mr Talbot.

Dr Fyfe had experimented by covering his image with red or yellow colour to prevent the image from fading.  He claimed to have had some success with a tinge of chrome yellow, and he brought to the meeting two specimens that he had produced two days earlier.

[Transactions of the RSSA - Appendix p.32]

EDINBURGH  -  27 March 1839

Demonstration at RSSA

Following the meeting, Dr Fyfe gave a demonstration, using light from the oxy-hydrogen blowlamp to produce an impression of a small dried leaf of a wild geranium in seven minutes.

[Transactions of the RSSA - Appendix p.32]

EDINBURGH  -  27 March 1839

Letter read to RSSA

Others were experimenting with photography in March 1839.

Following the lecture given by Dr Fyfe to the RSSA in Edinburgh on 27 March, a letter from the Curator, Mr Dunn was read.  He stated that, on that day, he had succeeded in producing an impression of a section of a piece of cane, by means of the solar microscope.  The impression which was on phosphate paper was exhibited.

[Transactions of the RSSA - Appendix p.32]

 

The Royal Scottish Society of Arts

EDINBURGH  -  10 April 1839

EDINBURGH  -  10 April 1839

Meetings of RSSA

In their report of the year's Meetings, the RSSA reported that on 10 April 1839, Dr Fyfe described photographic etching.

He noted that, since the previous RSSA Meeting at which he gave a talk on 27 March, he had succeeded in preserving his photographic impressions created with Phosphate of Silver by immersing them in a weak solution of Ammonia in water.  This affected the colour slightly, but protected the images from any further action of light.

Dr Fyfe then went on to give comments on photographic etching and explained how photography could help lithographers.

[Transactions of the RSSA - Appendix p.34]

An account of this Meeting was also given in the Scotsman on 17 April 1839.  The account mentioned that at the meeting, Dr Fyfe had exhibited specimens of:

-  specimens of a mode of etching using transparent varnish, by which he was enabled to take copies from engravings and oil paintings, and also take etchings from the images given by the camera obscura.

-   specimens of photographic impressions taken on panel board by the phosphate, and also on copper, by the latter of which he stated that the labours of engravers would in future be much diminished.

-   lithographic specimens.  Dr Fyfe also explained the practical application of the photographic process to lithography, by which lithographers were not put to the  trouble of tracing the object t o be taken on the transfer paper

Dr Douglas Maclagan also exhibited specimens taken by him; and another gentleman stated that he had taken impressions on cloth, and afterwards washed out the remaining silver solution.

[The Scotsman, 17 April 1839, page 3]

 

The Royal Scottish Society of Arts

EDINBURGH  -  17 April 1839

EDINBURGH  -  17 April 1839

Meetings of RSSA

Dr Fyfe commented on recent improvements effected by him in Photographic Drawing, whereby the lights and shadows were not reversed.  He exhibited some specimens of his work.

[Transactions of the RSSA - Appendix p.35]

EDINBURGH  -  17 April 1839

Communications

Dr Fyfe advised the RSSA of communications that he had received from several gentlemen, mentioning that they had repeated his experiments with Phosphate of Silver paper and with Ammonia as a preservative.

Dr Fyfe  gave further explanation of how the ammonia should be used. He explained that in order to preserve the image, it was necessary to leave the paper in a diluted solution of the ammonia for a short time until the yellow parts had turned white.

Other impressions on paper were shown to the Meeting:

-  one from the lithographer, William Forrester

-  one on lithographic stone from Mr Nicol.

[Transactions of the RSSA - Appendix p.35]

EDINBURGH  -  17 April 1839

Public Lecture

Dr Fyfe gave a public lecture in 'The New Art' at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, on 17 April 1839.  Tickets cost 2/- each, obtainable from five addresses in central Edinburgh including Alexander Hill, Print-seller at 50 Prince’s Street [later to be named Princes Street].  Alexander Hill was brother of DO Hill, one half of the early Hill & Adamson partnership.

Advert in The Scotsman for a Public Lecture on Photography to be given by Dr Fyfe at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh on 17 April 1839

©  For permission to reproduce, please contact Peter Stubbs

The Scotsman reported:

"The audience was numerous and fashionable and frequently cheered the lecturer as he proceeded."

 

The Royal Scottish Society of Arts

References in The Scotsman newspaper

There are references to the Royal Scottish Society of Arts meetings on photography in the following editions of The Scotsman newspaper in 1839:

-    6 April 1839
-  17 April 1839
-    3 July 1839

 

The Royal Scottish Society of Arts

 

 

__________________

 

Links to Other Pages

EdinPhoto - Home Page  Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.   At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.     At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.  

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.   Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.   Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.   The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.   The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.   EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.   Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photographers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material   Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.   Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?    Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.   Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.

 

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere     Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Links to pages with Photos of Groups   Frequently Asked Questions

  Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Links to Dumbiedykes pages  Link to Granton pages  Link to Leith pages   Link to Newhaven pages   Links to Portobello pages   Link to My Recent Talks