Auctions | June 19, 2024

Historic Photographs of Scottish Life 1840s-1940s to Auction

Lyon & Turnbull

Hill and Adamson, Three Fisherwomen At Newhaven, 1843 to 1847, salt print

85 photography lots focusing on 19th and 20th century Scottish life collected by Dr Murray Mackinnon go under the hammer today at Lyon & Turnbull.

In 2018, the National Library and National Galleries of Scotland acquired The Mackinnon Collection, one of its most important photographic acquisitions with a varied subject matter and across all classes, including family portraits, farming, industry and landscapes from the 1840s to the 1940s among its 14,000 images.

Lyon & Turnbull are selling the remaining photographs, collected by Mackinnon, a pharmacist and film processing businessman, who died in 2021, however his legacy remains as one of the country’s most significant collectors of photography.

The 85 photography lots originally collected by Murray Mackinnon, presented in Lyon & Turnbull's Books, Manuscripts, Maps & Photographs auction include calotypes by Hill and Adamson from the earliest days of photography and by the less well known but historically important Ross & Thomson, James Good Tunny and Thomas Rodger.

Highlights include: 

* an 1850s album attributed to James Good Tunny with dozens of portraits including the great and the good of the Royal Scottish Academy
* images of the fishing industry in the Highlands and Islands 

* groups of photographs documenting the building of the Forth Rail and Road bridges, the Tay bridge, Aberdeen Harbour, the Lochaber Hydro Scheme and ships on the Clyde.

* a group of early 20th-century photographs, letters and postcards relating to the now-abandoned island of St Kilda, including a postcard of the island’s first midwife 

* a small carte-de-visite believed to be of David Octavius Hill, one of the fathers of Scottish photography