PSS Exhibitions:    Medals    Dates   1st    2nd   3rd   4th   5th   6th   7th   8th   9th  10th 


PSS - 4th Exhibition

December 1859


Another successful Exhibition

The 4th PSS exhibition was held in the same rooms as the previous year's exhibition,  DR Hay’s Art Saloon,  90 George Street.  The room was rented for three months for £30.  At least five hundred posters were ordered to publicise the exhibition, at a cost of 3/- per hundred. 

The exhibition opened on 17 December 1859 with a with a Private View by invitation the previous evening.  It  remained open until3 March 1860.

The Council reported:

 A  larger collection of works was sent in than had ever before been received, several of the chief Photographers of England contributing for the first time.  

-  The Newspapers and Photographic Journals, almost without exception, pronounced the Exhibition to be greatly in advance of any previous exhibition, either in Edinburgh or elsewhere

-   The Exhibition profit of £24 7s 0d was lower than last year.  This fall in profit was blamed on the remarkable severity of the weather.


Rules for entrants included the following:

-  The Committee strongly recommends that pictures should be framed and glazed with margins of mounting board not exceeding 2 ½ ins in width all round.

-  It also recommends that in the case of pictures smaller than 9 x 7 inches, four should be in one Frame, but a Frame containing more than one picture must not exceed 12 square feet in area.

-  Each picture must have written on the back,

-  Pictures touched by the brush will not be admissible, unless so described


Several, but not all, of the exhibitors are listed below.

Scottish Entries


Thomas Annan

Photos for sale from 3/- to £3 3 0d

Archibald Burns
4 Calton Hill, Edinburgh

2 frames, each with 10 stereoscopic views from negatives by Fothergill’s Dry Process

EW Dallas

Landscapes, copies from other prints, fragments, sculptures and portraits, etc.

J Farmer

"He exhibited a portrait of Ivan Szabo, so well executed we took it at first to be a production of that master, himself."
[Evening News:  24 February 1859]

G&D Hay
68 Princes Street, Edinburgh

11 prints

" Comparison betwixt these excellent works and the dark crude performances of he early photogaphers will show at once what immense stride has been made in Edinburgh within the last few years." 
[Evening News:  24 December 1859].

J Henderson

Small views around Ochtertyre

Cosmo Innes

Cosmo Innes, amateur photographer and Vice President of the Photographic Society of Scotland, entered a number of picturesque scenes of Venice and the old towns of Germany.


20 frames of photos, all from collodion negatives.  

"A tableau containing twenty-eight of the Edinburgh Town Council during the Provostship of Sir James Melville.

The portrait of the Late Lord Provost, however, is the least successful; he looks as if he were enduring physical pain, having much the appearance of a martyr at the stake.". 

 [Evening News:  24 February 1859]

Kenneth MacLeay RSA

14 collodion and 6 plain photographs in one frame.   Prices from 5/- to 10 gns.

"Portrait of a Young Lady:  This work displays unusually fine qualities.  It is painted with breadth and unaffected power, yet tenderness of feeling that lift it far above ordinary competition."

[Evening News:  24 December 1859]

John Moffat

- 2 frames of wet collodion stereoscopic views at 1/- each

- 1frame of wet collodion stereoscopic views at 1/3d each

- 1frame of untouched prints from collodion negatives 

Edwin Musgrave

Edwin Musgrave was an amateur photography who went on to become Secretary of Edinburgh Photographic Society.  

In this exhibition, he exhibited coloured collodions.

A Orange

A frame of 36 stereoscopic photographs of statuary

Rev TM Raven

Studies of Melrose Abbey, Dunkeld Abbey, Bridge of Dunkeld and Spanish scenes.

Horatio Ross

Horatio Ross was an amateur photographer, one of the founding members of PSS and a Member of Parliament. 

He exhibited large studies of grouse, blackcook, etc.

T Rodgers jun.
St Andrews

"Seems to take the lead in portraiture amongst Scottish photographers"    [Evening News:  24 December 1859]

Truefitt Brothers

[No entry this year - this was regretted by the press]

Messrs Tunny

"Nine interesting groups by JG Tunny who may almost be pronounced the father of photography in Edinburgh and whose portraits of eminent men and beautiful landscape scenery fill the portfolios of most of our artists.

Mr Tunny has the true eye of an artist and his photographs have in consequence been always highly valued, not only by the general public but also by members of the artistic profession."  
[Evening News:  24 December 1859]

J Valentine

7 photographs

George Washington Wilson

GW Wilson's entered six frames of photographs.  All were views.  One of the frames was described as instantaneous views.  Another consisted of six studies of evening effects on the Loch of Park, Aberdeen.

He sold many photographs at this exhibition.  The prices were very modest.  He sold 40 small views at 10d each, but had to work hard for his £1 13s 4d.    

He wrote:

“Owing to an accidental contamination of the printing chemicals, I find the views printed for you so bad in colour that I could not let them out of my hands.” 
[Letter from GW Wilson to PSS:  10 March 1860]

Then he wrote:

“I am exceedingly annoyed to find that the views which I had ready for you yesterday have been pilfered off my counter, and having only a dozen left (of those you want) I am unable to send you the whole.”
[Letter from GW Wilson to PSS:  15 March 1860]

"There are two or three copies not quite so good as I should have wished but our hurry just now has prevented the getting that personal attention which these things require" 

 [Letter from GW Wilson to PSS]


(not Scottish)


R Fenton


S Ions

[admired in the press]

Maxwell Lyte
The Pyrenees

Despite all his efforts, Maxwell Lyte had trouble with the photographs that he sent from the Pyrenees to Edinburgh for this exhibition.

Maull & Polybank

32 framed photographs - portraits

TH Morgan


James Mudd

22 framed photographs - 5/- to 6/6d each, framed


His portraits still hold their distinguished position for truthful rendering of the character    [Caledonian Mercury:  17 Dec 1859]

T Dixon Piper

'Gainsburgh Lane, Near Ipswich',  a most picturesque picture, one of the most artistic studies in the room 
[Daily Scotsman:  26 December 1859]

Henry Peach Robinson

"[There is] nothing so deeply affecting as his 'Passing Away' last year, but [he] gives evidence of assiduous study including 'Here They Come' and 'Ophelia', a pretty study from his favourite model who re-appears in 'The Lady of Shalott'." [Press comment]

Fading Away  -  Henry Peach Robinson ©


HP Robinson's photograph  Here They Come won a Silver Medal in the exhibition for the Best Portrait of a Group.

Here They Come  -  Henry Peach Robinson ©

HP Robinson sold over 100 copies of photographs from this exhibition at prices that ranged from 4/- to 15/-.

'The Lady of Shalott' cost 7/6d and was accompanied by a verse from Tennyson.

  "She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume
She look’d down to Camelot."

Thomas Rodger sen.

Thomas Rodger jun.

Thomas Rodger sen. entered five frames of calotypes.  Titles included:

- Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot

- Velocipede and its Maker.

He wrote:

"If you think my small contributions worth putting in the Catalogue, I hope you'll distinguish my name by the word Senior" as my pictures are not worthy to be classed with the name of my Son.  His box will be sent approx to morrow."   

[Letter from Thomas Rodger sen. to PSS]

[entry in French]

Press reaction was mixed:

"There is no great beauty in this scene
[La Mare Aux Cygnes]

His cartes de visite are not generally so good as those of our own artists." 
[Edinburgh Evening Courant:  24 December 1859]

"... the quiet dignity and grace and artistic effectiveness of the sweet female portrait."
[Evening News:  24 December 1859]

Lyndon Smith

Despite the criticism he encountered in last year' s exhibition, Lyndon Smith entered more scenes of mist, including:

- 'Valley of the Wharf - Early Morning'

- 'Views in the Valley of Desolation'
   [several photographs]

He also entered

- 'Approach to Bolton Abbey':  

"One of the most artistic studies on the room"

  [Daily Scotsman:  26 Dec 1859]

He wrote:

"I find so much bother and expense connected with printing that I shall not permit any copies for sale.  I have no objection to sell those in the exhibition as they are with frames but I do not care to part with them for less than£3 each which perhaps your customers think too much"
[Letter from Lyndon Smith to PSS]


F Maxwell Lyte

Entries from the Pyrenees

F Maxwell Lyte became a regular contributor to PSS exhibitions, submitting his entries from his home in the Pyrenees. 

He had previously exhibited at the 1855 Paris Exhibition.  He was in distinguished company when he won a Silver Medal at that exhibition.  Several Silver Medal winners in the Paris Exhibition were based in Britain.  

They were Claudet, Fenton, Llewelyn, Rejlander, Turner, Townsend, Williams and Count de Montizon.  Talbot won the Grand Medal of Honour.

Please handle carefully!

Prints at PSS Exhibitions were hung in frames. Framed photographs were usually supplied.  But in some cases, unframed photos arrived with requests for PSS to arrange for framing, then bill the photographer. Maxwell Lyte knew how he wanted his prints to be handled and framed.  He submitted 12 views of Spain and the Pyrenees to the 4th PSS Exhibition in 1859. He wrote several letters to PSS, from which these extracts are taken:

“Please to handle these pictures carefully and to take care not to bend the board or crease it by handling it roughly – also take care to touch with clean hands.  It is particularly requested that they may not be injured in the custom house examination.”

“If there is no regulation pattern of frame to be used throughout the Exhibition, let the pictures be placed in plain gold-beading frames of narrow beadings.”

“Take care that the pictures touch the glass.  I like glass as free as possible from flaws.  Paste up the back board of the frame with paper all round, so as to keep out the dust.  Be careful of thumb marks and do not handle the board roughly or crease it by taking up the pictures in one hand”

The result

It is ironic to read the press coverage of this Exhibition.  The Daily Scotsman wrote on 26 Dec 1859:

“Maxwell Lyte: ‘Bagneres di Bigonne’ –An excellent specimen.  Other specimens of the same artist are equally good; and we are happy to add that the injury these beautiful views sustained in their transmission to this country, by a nail being driven through them has been skillfully repaired, and does not now injure their general effect.

This damage did not deter Maxwell Lyte form submitting further work to PSS exhibitions.  He continued to send entries and instructions to exhibitions.  

He won a medal in the 5th exhibition

For the 6th exhibition, he submitted a further 15 Pyrenean landscapes, each 13½ ins x 6 ins.  He asked for them to be framed: 25¼ ins x 19½ ins inside measurement, black or better still rosewood molding. 

He offered unframed copies of these photographs for 20/- each. 

He won another medal in the  and 7th exhibition.


Other Photographs in Exhibitions


PSS Exhibitions:    Medals    Dates   1st    2nd   3rd   4th   5th   6th   7th   8th   9th  10th