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Glass Plate Negatives


The RCAHMS National Collection includes historic photographs illustrating and recording Scotland's people and places. Dating from the 1850s through to the 1950s, there are thousands of original glass plate negatives taken by both professional and amateur photographers, which illustrate a wide range of archaeological and architectural subjects.

Some of the key photographers represented include Alexander and Francis Caird Inglis, Lady Henrietta Gilmour, Erskine Beveridge, Henry Bedford Lemere, Francis M Chrystal, Thomas Polson Lugton, John Hay, James Ritchie, B C Clayton, John Fleming and John Patrick. The glass plate negative collections also include some of the earliest photographs taken to illustrate the RCAHMS inventories, photographs for ‘Early Christian Monuments of Scotland’ and the National Art Survey of Scotland, as well as photographs from companies like Whytock and Reid furniture manufacturers and Scottish Gas. This gallery highlights images by these photographers and contains examples which are being made available online for the first time.

There is a preventive conservation programme in place for the glass plate negatives to ensure optimum conditions for storage and appropriate housing to ensure their long-term preservation. We also maintain an active digitisation programme of the collections, with new images being added to Canmore every day.