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James Good Tunny

1876 Studio

In 1876, James Good Tunny's studio was at 13 Maitland Street (now re-named Shandwick Place), Edinburgh.

John Nicol, in his 'Notes from the North' published in the British Journal of Photography gave a very comprehensive account of this studio in 1876.



Notes from the North

This account appeared in Nicol's Notes from the North column in the British Journal of Photography:

Tunny's Studio

"... It is pretty well known that in point of time Mr Tunny is one of the oldest, if not the oldest professional photographer in Scotland, and therefore, in consequence of the large experience which he has thereby gained, the erection of a new studio with all the usual working appliances, in a situation where he could carry out his own ideas without let or hindrance, has been watched with considerable interest.

In addition to his long experience as a practical photographer, Mr Tunny recently spent six months in the United Stateswhere he visited most of the principal studios thee, so that the establishment just completed may be regarded as the outcome both of much experience and of extensive observation."

"In the early days of photography Mr Tunny carried on successfully for many years a business in the southern suburbs of Edinburgh.

As photography became popular, and the competition increased, he considered it desirable to migrate to the centre and fitted up an extensive establishment  in Princes-street, which was also carried on with considerable success.

Some years ago, in consequence of a desire for the purer air and greater quiet of the suburban residence, together with  additional space for the execution of larger work, he returned to the southern side where he erected an extensive and convenient studio, and a series of very complete work-rooms."

"These were a few years ago burnt down, but only to be re-erected on a more extensive and perfect scale.  During this time, the studio in Princes Street was carried on as a branch establishment, but in consequence of the property having been acquired by an insurance office, he found it necessary to look out for another position, and under the impression that, as is generally the case, the money-possessing and money-spinning portion of the inhabitants were moving in a westerly direction, he decided to follow them in the hope of coming in for a share of their surplus wealth.

With this object in view, shortly after his return from America, Mr Tunny purchased a large house in Shandwick Place, and having razed it to the ground, commenced the present edifice which has been so successfully completed .

The building is four stories in height and projects a few feet farther into the street than those to the east and west of it.  Externally, it has an imposing effect, the architecture being in the Italian style, the front consisting principally of glass, and so arranged that fine views of the street, both east and west are obtained form the principal windows."

John Nicol went on to describe the rooms in Tunny's premises. These included the following, each described in detail by Nicol:


storage rooms, furnace and boiler.


25 x 12 feet, handsomely decorated with ornamental glass doors.  The walls are hung with fine specimens of enlargements in various styles, including paintings in oil.

Exhibition Room

30 x 15 feet, elegantly furnished, intended to be exclusively used for exhibiting photographs in oil.

Retouching/Spotting Room

24 x 15 feet, fitted with numerous desks for spotting, and a table for cutting and mounting, with rolling press and burnishers.

Painting Room

Small but luxuriously finished, lit from two sides and from the roof.

Printing Department

30 x 20 feet, along one length of the room is a table on which printing frames are laid, covered with a series of sashes glazed with ground glass and placed at an angle, so that the work may be carried on during rain as well as in sunshine.

Fixing, Toning and Washing Room

This room included a depositing sink in which most of the silver used was recovered.


28 x 22 feet, magnificently furnished, ornamented in the highest style of art, and containing large quantities of the very best of Mr Tunny's work in monochrome.

- with couches and chairs covered in  crimson Utrecht velvet, fine Indian curtains and an organ.


28 x 21 feet x 18 feet high.


14 x 14 feet, lit by a large window with orange glass.

Enlarging Room

14 x 14 feet fitted up with the most convenient and perfect apparatus.

[BJP:  25 February 1876;  p90]



James Good Tunny





Maine to California



Collections and For Sale

Early Negatives

Tunny &  Rodger

William Miller



Mrs Tunny

Edinburgh Views

Princes Street  1850s

Princes Street   c1880

Shakespeare Square



Early Days


Studio 1852

Studio 1876

JG Tunny & Co

Tunny & Asher

Family Photos

Cartes de Visite

A carte de visiet by James Good Tunny  -  1860-1870

Cabinet Prints

The back of a cabinet print by James Good Tunny  -  13 Maitland Street + 19 Salisbury Place  - Lady wearing a hat


Here is a link to a web page that gives details of a book, written and published in 2009 by Julian Bukits, on the life and work of James G Tunny

Cover of a book 'A Study of James G Tunny - 1820-1887'  by Julian Bukits