PSS Council reported in May 1864:
as the Competing Exhibitions have been the Council are unanimous in their
opinion of the desirableness of having next season, if at all practicable, a
They find that a comparatively small number of photographs, however high
the quality, has not the same attraction either to the public or the Society, as
a more extensive collection; whilst the fact of it being a competitive
Exhibition excludes many pictures of undoubted merit, which would be sent
without hesitation to an open Exhibition."
only obstacle is the want of a suitable room in a good locality, and the Council
call upon every member of the Society to assist them in overcoming this
difficulty, so that arrangements may be made in good time for next season."
Council Report to AGM 5/1864]
General Exhibition was held at 90 George Street, the same venue as for several
was specified that all pictures were to be untouched and from a single
negative, except in the case of views which could have sky printed from another
negative. Toning or shading before fixing was permitted.
exhibition was open to the public free of charge, from 20 Dec 1864 to 18 Feb
10am to 5pm @ 1/-
7pm to 9pm @ 6d (3 for 1/-)
Season tickets 2/6
were 671 exhibits. The
National Library of Scotland has a catalogue of the 9th PSS Exhibition.
Despite being well attended, the exhibition made a loss. The Council
Council have to regret, however that the exhibition, like its last predecessors,
has proved a failure financially, the loss to the Society being £48 13s 9d.
This has been the fate, more or less, of every recent Photographic
Exhibition and it is more to be regretted , as it is the opinion of some of the
best Photographers in the country, and others qualified to judge, that the
future progress of this beautiful art depends more on public exhibitions for its
advancement than on anything else."
"The Council are glad to
report that photographically no previous exhibition has been such a
success, whether as regards the beauty or the variety of the works
[PSS Council Report to AGM 9/5/1865]
list of persons invited to the Preview of the exhibition comprised:
- JD Marwick
- John Nicol
- Alex McGlashon
- R Fleming
- Alex T Niven
- JH Center
- Geoff Slight
1 Lord Provost
- George Harvey PRSA
- Robert Henderson RSA
- David Bryce RSA
- Horatio Maculloch RSA
- Kenneth MacLeay RSA
- James Drummond RSA
- Gomley? Steell? RSA
- DO Hill RSA
- JB Johnston RSA
- J Noel Paton RSA
- John Steel RSA
- Mrs Brodie RSA
4 Royal Society of Arts
7 Fine Arts
8 Architectural Institute
8 Royal Physical
Court of Session (mainly Lords)
4 Register House
others (Rev., etc)
Medal for the Best Portrait: Brenda
Medal for the Best Group: Nether
Medal for The Best View taken by a Dry Process: View
of Dunham Park
Medal for The Best View taken by an Amateur:
the Leader Near Melrose
Medal for The Best View in Scotland: Dumbarton
Medal for Microscopic Objects enlarged for the Magic Lantern
Pantascopic Company of London
taken with the Pantascopic Camera
final three medals listed above were additional medals awarded at the discretion
of the judges because they considered the entries merited medals.
Peach Robinson print, Brenda, became the Presentation Print, a copy being
provided to each PSS Member. HP Robinson charged 2/6 per print for making
copies of Brenda.
Public Library and The
National Library of Scotland have copies of the catalogue of the 9th PSS
Exhibition, giving a full list of entrants and their exhibits.
Here are a
few of the entrants, together with extracts from some of the letters accompanying their
are by the collodion process copied upon ordinary albumised paper, and
except stopping out specks on some of them they are absolutely
Adamson: Letter to PSS 29/11/1864].
Annan wrote several letters:
I am glad you are going to
have a real Exhibition this year. If it had only been a competitive
exhibition, I had made up (my) mind to send anything
[letter: Thomas Annan to PSS - 24/10/1864]
was awarded a Silver Medal for his photograph Dumbarton Castle, and
"I was much gratified at the
kind expressions in your last letter - but I feel as if I did not deserve
a medal as I don’t do myself justice in not taking advantage of the best
weather for my views but my business compels me to work very often at very
unpicturesque subjects, and as it unfortunately happens in the best
weather I hope you will have finer things in your exhibition than I will
[letter: Thomas Annan to PSS]
regretted not being able to come to Edinburgh to collect his medal, and
have nothing new to communicate, as I am not much of an experimentalist.
constant aim is to make my Photographs like Pictures and I am happy to
think that my efforts are not altogether unsuccessful”
Brownrigg sent some 12ins x 10 ins views of Killarney scenery to the
exhibition. He offered these for sale at 6/- mounted or 5/-
unmounted. He wrote
are several pictures by the Collodio-Albumen and Tannin processes.
When you write to me I should be obliged for your opinion of
their relative merit.
I find the Collodio-Albumen the best of the dry processes but
extremely slow for dark subjects."
Thomas Brownrigg to PSS 3/1/1865]
also sent copies of these photographs to Queen Victoria, and received
Queen has been pleased to accept a set of Kilarney photographs, the same
as those in the Exhibition. I have not failed to present to the
Queen your beautiful photographs of Kilarney which arrived this morning.
I have much pleasure to inform you that they have been gracefully
accepted and very much admired by Her Majesty."
PB(?) Phipps, Windsor Castle to Thomas Brownrigg]
Bay, Isle of Wight
Margaret Cameron sent photographs to the exhibition. These
included portraits of Alfred
Tennyson, Anthony Trollope and others.
enquired about the exhibition
am preparing a collection of very excellent photographs to send to your
I propose sending 12 portraits, chiefly of eminent men and some
of these 12 are very beautiful fancy pictures all from the life.
two large frames containing each several groups, also from the life and
each of these frames will be very much within the 12 square feet in
write now to beg you to be so good as to forward me with an immediate
answer to these questions:
the 12 portraits in 12 separate frames and the various groups in t he
two large frames be admitted?
Regarding their excellence, I can assure you that they are
pronounced by the greatest Artists in London 'to be amongst the finest
things in existence'.
Therefore it is only about the number I feel doubtful.
If the number is not
objected to, I am sure you will admit these.
second question is - If they do not reach Edinburough (sic) by the 30th
Instant, will you promise me they shall be received.
Being a resident of the Isle of Wight, I am subject to real
disadvantage as to the expediting carvers, gilders &c. in their work
… though also subject to great advantage in my own Art for sky is so
clear for work here, but I am hurrying my framers as much as possible
and if they should make any delay so as to render it impossible foe
my case to reach you by the 30th how can I address it so as to
ensure its being received and admitted by you if it is two days late?
I will send by passenger train if needful."
Margaret Cameron to PSS - 24/11/1864]
her style of photography, she wrote:
aim is not only to be faithful to portraiture but to revive and
reproduce the Old Masters by taking pictures in which the ideal prevails
without any sacrifice to the real."
Margaret Cameron to PSS - 12/3/1865]
Davis sent 16 stereographs and 3 photographs
stereographs included many views around Lancashire.
photographs were magnified objects by polarised light:
- crystals of sulphate of copper
(Mag. 200 diam.)
- crystals of sulphate of copper and magnesia (ditto)
- crystals of tartrate of soda (ditto).
“I fear my contribution to
your Exhibition this year is but of small value as I have had little
time to work.”
[letter: T Davis to PSS - 25/1/1864]
Heath sent 5 frames of photographs which he offered for sale: single
frames @ 12/6 each: Photos
@ 7/6 each.
of his photographs were landscapes.
They include views of Windsor Castle, Burnham and Cottage Porch.
discovering that there was some interest in his photographs, he wrote to
glad to find from your letter that the Cottage Porch is inquired
for. It is my pet picture:
not only because it is my own house but because I believe it has
qualities as a photograph which surpass any I have taken.
I have just published two engravings of the Prince and Princess
of Wales and the infant Prince from a photograph I took from Life.
are really interesting, and being from photographs if they are
admissible, I will have a pair sent down for exhibition.
I believe you would sell a great many copies."
the last month I have been confined to my room with a dreadful illness
and am now confined to my bed but I
have sent you three frames containing the best selection I can
make under the circumstances.
entry, for which he was awarded a Silver Medal, included:
frames containing transparency positives of enlargements of microscopic
objects, for the illuminated lantern… a selection showing the
application of photography to the Magic Lantern for scientific
educational demonstrations embracing Astronomy, Physical Geology,
Pathology, Anatomy, Osteology, Botany, Mineralogy and a series of
Zoological type forms."
Samuel Highley to PSS - 26/11/1864]
Isle of Wight
Hughes sent two large views and six 9ins x 7ins views of Her
Majesty’s residence, Osborne, printed from Tannin negatives. the skies
are slightly tinted in the printing.
description of the mode of printing these negatives will form a paper I
will read next Tuesday night at the London Photographic Society.
Jabez Hughes to PSS - 28/11/1864]
Mudd sent twelve frames of landscapes of England and North Wales.
He won a Silver Medal for the Best view taken by a Dry Process. He
is a very gratifying thing for me to receive a third medal from
Edinburgh. It has
been a great pleasure to exhibit there because of the gentlemanly
treatment I have received on all occasions from yourself and others
connected with the Society; and I hope to continue to be a contributor
as long a you deem my pictures worthy of your annual gathering."
[letter: James Mudd to PSS - 30/1/1865]
that I cannot send you a better lot of photographs every year. The
fact is I do not spend more than 10 days during the whole year in
getting those you see annually. Indeed with the exception of half
a dozen, you see all I produce in the way of pictures, bad and good.
do hope, however, to be able to devote much more time, and I feel sure
much better things can be done. Whatever I do shall always be at
the service of your Society for my exhibitions they may in future have.
James Mudd to PSS - 21/3/1865]
exhibited 5 frames, each 24 ins x 30ins, printed in printers' ink direct
from the negatives by Pouncy's
Lyon Square, London
hearing that they had been awarded a Silver Medal for
taken with the Pantascopic Camera, a representative of the Pantascopic Company
given some years’ conscientious labour to perfect the Pantascopic
camera and having spent large sums upon it,
I naturally look with affection upon the offspring of so much
thought and toil. It is
therefore with great gratification that I learn that its merits are
recognized and acknowledged by persons so competent to judge as the
members of your Society."
[letter from representative of Pantascopic Company to PSS]
Robinson was awarded a Silver Medal for the Best Portrait for his photograph
titled Brenda. He regretted that he was unable to attend the PSS
Meeting to receive his medal, but wrote:
of attending to receive the Medal I must find some subject on which to
write you a paper when you get short of one, although there is very
little of interest in photography to write upon."
Silvey sent 12 photographs, all wet collodion, all taken on 1 June 1864
at a Fete given at HRH Duke of Anmale(?)'s residence.