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Thomas Annan



Thomas Annan


The parents of Thomas Annan were:

- Father:  John Annan - flax spinner

- Mother:  Agnes Annan  (née Bell)

[John Annan's Death Certificate]

Thomas Annan lived most of his life in Glasgow, but moved to Edinburgh, living with his brother,  John, at Rock House, Calton Hill, Edinburgh from 1869.  Rock House had previously been the home of DO Hill.

Rock House

   Rock House studio  -  1870s ©

John Adam was a professional photographer in Edinburgh from 1869 to 1890.

The second son of Thomas Annan was the photographer James Craig Annan (1864-1946), the pictorial and portrait photographer who, together with Alfred Steiglitz, became a member of the “Linked Ring.

James Craig Annan renewed interest in the Hill & Adamson calotypes by making gravure prints from their work.   [MIT]


Thomas Annan


Early Life

Thomas Annan was born between Cupar and St Andrews in Fife, Scotland.  He was initially apprenticed to a lithographer in Cupar.


He established studios in Glasgow from 1849,  then in Hamilton and in Edinburgh.  In Glasgow, he founded the company T & R Annan.  [Who was R Annan?]


In 1864 he lived next door to the explorer, David Livingston, whom he photographed.  Thomas Annan sold cartes de visite of Livingston for a shilling each.  Annan named his house 'Talbot Cottage'
[Bill Buchanan, APIS 2004]


Thomas Annan


Photographic Processes

Thomas Annan worked first with the calotype and later with the collodion process.  [MIT]  

In 1866, he bought the rights to Swan's carbon process in Scotland.  He also used the gravure process.  He was attracted to both of these processes as they produced images that would not fade. 
[Bill Buchanan, APIS 2004]

Copying works of Art

Thomas Annan made copies of many works of art, persuading publishers to use these rather than engravings to illustrate the works of art in their publications.

The Disruption Painting

Thomas Annan also produced engravings from D O Hill's painting of The Disruption.  These were sold in three sizes, the largest being 4 ft wide.  D O Hill added Thomas Annan into his painting, amongst the figures near the door at the top-right on the painting.

Photographic Projects

The City of Glasgow web site lists other photographic projects by Thomas Annan.  These include:

Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow.  These photos recording the housing conditions in Glasgow in the late 1860s were produced for the Glasgow City Improvement Trust

-  the building of Loch Katrine Waterworks, 1859-77

-  portraits of David Livingstone, Horatio McCulloch, Joseph Noel Paton and Daniel MacNee.    [At one time, Thomas Annan lived in Talbot Cottage with David Livingstone his next door neighbour.]

-  Munich painted windows in Glasgow Cathedral, 1867

-  Old Country Houses of the Glasgow Gentry, 1870.


T & R Annan & Sons Ltd

The company, T & R Annan & Sons Ltd, was established in 1855.

They were official photographers at the Glasgow Exhibitions of 1888, 1901 and 1911, and received a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria in 1889.

Today, under Douglas Annan, they are Fine Art Dealers.  From their gallery at 164 Woodlands Road, they sell copies of Thomas Annan's photographs.


Thomas Annan

Lectures given to Edinburgh Photographic Society

May 1884

Art in Photo Landscapes


Further Reading

To find a wide range of references to the work of Thomas Annan and James Craig Annan, please see Scottish Photography - A Bibliography 1839-1989 compiled by Sara Stevenson & AD Morrison-Low   [ISBN 0- 9512533-4-4]


The Annan Family

Thomas Annan  -  Photographer

Thomas Annan  -  Engraver

Thomas Annan  -   Exhibitions

John Annan - brother of Thomas

James Craig Annan - 2nd son of Thomas

Old Streets and Closes of Glasgow  -  Background

Old Streets and Closes of Glasgow  -  Photogravures