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William Crooke

William Crooke  -  A photograph that appeared beside Crooke's obituary in the British Journal of Photography on 31 August 1928

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Obituary in BJP

1848 - 1928

William Crooke was born in Ireland.  He had a long career as a professional photographer, and renowned for his work from his  studio in Princes Street, Edinburgh. 

He died, aged almost 80, on 23 August 1928.  His photograph and obituary were printed in the British Journal of Photography the following week.  Here are some extracts from the obituary:

"The world of portrait photographers loses one of its greatest figures in the passing of Mr William Crooke."

"To the new generation of photographer, Mr Crooke may perhaps be little known but those whose memory runs back for twenty years or more, when Mr Crooke was at the height of his photographic activity will have an appreciation of the achievements which have distinguished Mr Crooke as an outstanding member of the photographic profession and have earned him the designation of the "Raeburn of Photography."


William Crooke remained a member of the Professional Photographers' Association into  his retirement, and was a regular contributor to the London Salon until 1925.

The obituary described him as having a wide artistic interests and a delightful personality.  It commented on his portraiture photography:

"His portraiture exhibited a characteristic conservatism.  He would not employ any process that would not stand the test of time, and thus used platinotype and carbon only, printing by contact from negatives taken direct upon large plates."

"His awards for portraiture gained at important exhibitions amounted, it is believed, to a greater number than can be credited ot any other photographer of his time."


[BJP 31 Aug 1928, p.532]


Further Comments in BJP


Tour of America

The week after publishing William Crooke's obituary, the BJP published a note from H Walter of Barnet, who had known William Crooke since 1897.

H Walter described a tour that the two photographers made to the US in 1910, travelling together from Liverpool in the ill-fated ship, Lusitania.

This was William Crooke's only visit to America, and included visits to New  York, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, St Luis, Chicago, Buffalo, Niagara (ice bound) and Rochester.  They were given two days' hospitality by Kodak and were entertained to lunch by George Eastman.

Crooke's Photography

Commenting on William Crooke's photography, H Walter said

"His work had not the strength of the American school, but was distinguished by a charm which he imposed upon his women sitters and a fine dignity upon his men, who were mainly made up of well  known lawyers, doctors and politicians resident in Scotland."

Crooke's Other Interests

H Walter also commented on William Crooke's house, Craigcrook, at Dunbar, romantically situated overlooking the North Sea and Berwick Law, his lifetime membership of the Scottish Conservative Club and his enjoyment of the game of golf.

[BJP 7 September 1928, p.549]



William Crooke

William Crooke - Photographed by Walter Barnett



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