Scotland

100 years of Scotland in pictures

A collection of more than 14,000 photographs capturing a century of life in Scotland is to go on public display.

Drumer boy Image copyright The Mackinnon Collection
Image caption The collection includes family portraits

The pictures date from the earliest days of photography in the 1840s through to the 1940s.

Glasgow University Image copyright The Mackinnon Collection
Image caption An early photograph of Glasgow University
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The £1m collection includes family portraits, working life, street scenes, sporting pursuits, shops, trams, tenements, mountains and monuments.

It has been acquired from a collector by the National Library of Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland.

Portrait of a young woman Image copyright The Mackinnon Collection
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The collection was put together by photography enthusiast Murray MacKinnon, from the Dyce area of Aberdeen, before he sold it on.

Melrose Abbey Image copyright The Mackinnon Collection
Image caption The ruins of Melrose Abbey are captured

He said: "The collection covers the day-to-day lives of Scottish people both rich and poor, the work they carried out including fishing and farming, in order to survive, and their social life including sport and leisure.

"These were turbulent times what with industrialisation, shipbuilding, new forms of transport, the social upheaval caused by the First World War in Europe and the Boer War in South Africa.

"The discovery of penicillin and radiography heralded the development of medicine and the pharmaceutical industry in Scotland.

"I would like to thank all the people involved in acquiring this collection for the Scottish nation, and for their great efforts in making this acquisition possible."

Portrait of a young woman Image copyright The Mackinnon Collection
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Highlights include:

  • More than 600 original photographs from the pioneering days of photography featuring work from David Octavius Hill (1802-1870) and Robert Adamson (1821-1848), James Ross (d.1878) and John Thomson (d.1881), Cosmo Innes (1798-1874) and Horatio Ross (1801-1886)
  • Some of the finest work of Thomas Annan (1829-1887) and his son, James Craig Annan (1864-1946) including rare examples of their original albumen prints
  • Examples of the work of Scotland's successful commercial photographers including George Washington Wilson (1823-1893) and James Valentine (1815-1880)
  • Portraits of Scottish regiments from the Crimean War by Roger Fenton (1819-1869)
  • A series of albums and prints depicting life in the main towns and cities from the late 1800s and early 1900s
  • Studies of farming and fishing communities in remote villages and hamlets
  • Scenes of shipbuilding, railways, herring fishing, weaving, whisky distilling, dockyards, slate quarries and other working environments
Scott Monument Image copyright The Mackinnon Collection
Image caption The Scott Monument in Edinburgh

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop welcomed the public acquisition, which was backed by the Scottish government, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund.

She said: "The MacKinnon collection is one of the most remarkable collections of Scottish photography and an invaluable resource for researchers, students and the wider public.

"I am delighted that £300,000 of Scottish government funding has supported the acquisition, curation, touring and digitisation of this collection, preventing it from being broken up or sold overseas."

Tullichewan Castle in Vale of Leven Image copyright The Mackinnon Collection
Image caption Tullichewan Castle in Vale of Leven
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A base camp for the 5th Dragoon Guards Image copyright The Mackinnon Collection
Image caption A base camp for the 5th Dragoon Guards
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Hardship in camp Image copyright The Mackinnon Collection
Image caption And an image titled "Hardship in camp"
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Ms Hyslop added: "Our rich cultural and artistic heritage plays an intrinsic part in boosting our economy and tackling inequalities.

"I commend the National Galleries of Scotland and National Library of Scotland for their achievement in ensuring that this unique collection can now be enjoyed by the people of Scotland, enabling the public to learn more about our fascinating early photography tradition."

Professor Miller's son, James Image copyright The Mackinnon Collection
Image caption Leading surgeon Professor James Miller's son, James
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Granton ships Image copyright The Mackinnon Collection
Image caption Boats at Granton Harbour, Edinburgh

A major exhibition of the MacKinnon collection will be held at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery next year, with touring exhibitions around the country to follow.

The entire collection will also be digitised over the next three years and made available online.

All images copyrighted National Library of Scotland/National Galleries of Scotland.