Annan appears to have had a genuine appreciation of architecture as well as of painting. Once again, however, much of his published work resulted from commissions. Two large volumes illustrating local gentlemen’s mansions—The Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry. One hundred photographs by Annan, of well-known places in the neighbourhood of Glasgow, with descriptive notices (Glasgow: MacLehose, 1870, 2nd ed. 1878) and Castles and Mansions of Ayrshire illustrated in seventy views (Edinburgh: William Paterson, 1885)—were essentially commissioned by well-to-do members of the old aristocracy and merchant class. Dismayed by the rapidity with which the city and its surroundings were being transformed and its old buildings torn down in the wake of breakneck industrialization and massive immigration, these men of an earlier age sought to preserve a visual record of a vanishing world and saw photography as an effective means of doing so. Though not highly original, the full-page mounted photographs (6¼ x 4½ inches for The Old Country Houses, 7½ x 5½ inches for Castles and Mansions) of these structures, some dating back to the Middle Ages, most of them built in the eighteenth and early decades of the nineteenth century—the heyday of Glasgow as a merchant city and center of trade in tobacco and cotton with the New World—demonstrate Annan’s skill at architectural photography, his sensitivity to compositional values and to the effects of light and shade (Figs. 5:1-6).
Earning his living as a professional photographer, Annan was not in a position, whatever his personal views may have been (the most that scholars have been able to come up with is that he was “a man of liberal and Christian commitment [. . .] involved in the Church’s effort to improve the lot” of the poor), to pick and choose commissions. His task was to execute, as a photographer, the orders of his clients. If the texts of the two volumes can be taken as evidence, those who commissioned and subscribed to both The Old Country Houses and Castles and Mansions must be assumed to have been unfavorably disposed to the new, fast-changing world of modern industry. Likewise, it would appear that their interest was directed more towards the history and genealogy of the landlords and their social role than towards the buildings themselves. The chief subscribers to both volumes seem to have been either the owners of the properties illustrated or their family members and friends. Thus only 120 copies of the first edition and 225 copies of the second edition of The Old Country Houses were printed. The editors—two keen local antiquarians, John Guthrie Smith (1834-1894) and John Oswald Mitchell (1826-1904) in the case of The Old Country Houses; the antiquarian and historian Alexander Hastie Millar (1847-1927) in the case of Castles and Mansions—offer virtually no comment on the architecture itself in the fairly extensive texts accompanying Annan’s photographs, other than an occasional short descriptive passage or the mention of a date or an architect’s name. Moreover, the primary interest, not only of the editors but of readers as well, is indicated by handwritten corrections to the editors’ texts that were made by an early reader of the Princeton University Library copy of Castles and Mansions: they chiefly concern family histories. Even though, as noted, the texts of these relatively rare volumes have little direct bearing on the photographs themselves, they throw light on Annan’s clientele and help us to understand the social and historical context in which he worked. I shall therefore quote from them freely.
The author of a 1905 memoir on John Oswald Mitchell, one of the editors of The Old Country Houses, observed of Mitchell’s historical essays that “a constitutionalist might have noted other things, might have dwelt on the growth of civic rights, the rivalry of the merchants and the crafts, the broadening of self-government, and the resulting evolution of the modern municipality.” Mitchell, however, “chose otherwise. His interests were frankly not democratic, and he turned with a glow to the old dons who had—’what some of their successors would give,’ he thought, ‘a good part of their riches for’—a distinct position of aristocracy, and who enjoyed its first condition, an unquestioned social supremacy. Those old merchants, in great part a hereditary caste,” the writer concluded, “were the centre of his world.”
While moderate in tone, rather than harshly critical, the texts of The Old Country Houses express great consternation at the social transformation of Glasgow. The disappearance of distinguished properties in and around the city, as it expanded into previously outlying suburbs, is seen as the physical manifestation of the decline of the social caste associated with those properties. The well-written Introduction to the first edition opens on an elegiac note: “We get nothing for nothing in this world, and our wonderful present prosperity costs us, among more valuable things, many an interesting monument of the past in Glasgow and round Glasgow.” The volume is then presented explicitly as “a memorial of the old Burgher Aristocracy who built or owned so many of these hundred houses” and of the values that that class represented. To be sure, it was a “ruling class.”
They or their nominees were Provosts and Deans of Guild and Bailies. They controlled the election of that quarter of a Member that Glasgow then sent to Parliament. They worked the patronage of the place. Even the Banks were in their hands. And, however their fortunes might look now-a-days, wealth is a relative term, and they were certainly the wealthiest people, rather, the only wealthy people, of their day.
But “money,” it is asserted, “used not to be the power, even in pure trading communities, that it has since become, and mere money would not have given them their position.” Rather it was the temperament and the moral qualities fostered by the possession of stable wealth that won social distinction for the old merchant gentry. “To be a rich merchant was some warrant then for good breeding. This delicate plant, which may be found indigenous in the poorest soil, can be cultivated, but it cannot be forced: and it does not thrive, on either side of the Atlantic, beside a rapid growth of fortune.” Modern conditions, however, are unfavorable to the stable or slow-growing fortunes of the old merchant class.
Now-a-days, when the capable man can so readily get at both information and connection and capital, the best built business can only be kept up by a succession of talent and application not common in rich families. But, in old times, if a position was worse to win, it was the easier to hold, and a good business was almost as good as an entailed estate. And so it was that the Merchant Rank was in great part a hereditary caste, and its members were of good birth, if to come of a line of merchants be to be well-born. All experience shows that this quality of good birth passes current for more than its worth in communities much more democratic than Old Glasgow. But it is worth something. Hereditary opulence does, in the main, soften manners, and the sense of his conspicuous position ought to do good service both in encouraging and in restraining the bearer of a well-known name.
Now, however, “Glasgow looks almost as new as Chicago”; it is virtually forgotten that its “luxuriant growth hides an ancient stem”; and the attachment to the city of the old gentry of merchants and local lairds has been replaced by the wider ambitions of a new class of free-wheeling entrepreneurs and social climbers, to whom the city is no more than the place where their businesses are located and their fortunes made.
Whatever [the] faults of the old gentry, absenteeism was not one. If Glasgow chanced not to have been their birth-place, it certainly was their home. Even when they came to own their country house, it would be within an easy distance of the Cross, and the town house would be still kept on. They were proud of Glasgow, of its ancient name, and its modern growth, of the High Kirk and the College, the Greens, and the Trongate with its stately Arcades. They were ready to serve the town as Provost, or Dean of Guild, or Bailie. They could be counted on at all times and in all companies to stand up for its rights and its dignities. They knew every body, and every body knew them.
[. . .] They sent their boys to the Grammar School and the College, and brought up their girls at home.
Now-a-days, our leading merchant has too often ceased to be a citizen. Glasgow is the place where he has his office, and which is always wanting subscriptions from him. But he lives as far from it as he can. He cultivates other society. Outside of his own business the circle of his acquaintance here is gradually narrowing. He would no more mix in municipal matters than Lord Westminster would join the Pimlico Paving Board. If he has himself the misfortune to “speak Glasgow,” his sons and his daughters shall escape that unmelodious shibboleth, and they come back from their English schools strangers, knowing nothing and caring nothing about Glasgow or Glasgow folk, and rather ashamed of having anything to do with the big smoky town. [. . .] They read Burns or Scott, if at all, with a glossary. And they have no idea of the difference between a Free Kirker and a U.P. [United Presbyterian], or any other of those puzzling Scotch sects.
The Introduction to the 1878 edition reinforces the conservative message of 1870. The pace of change has not diminished: “Glasgow has seen great changes since this book was published eight years ago. A man who had lived here all his life till then might to-day be set down in many parts of the city without having an idea where he was.” While the few remaining buildings of note in the center of the city are probably now preserved from destruction,
we can feel no such assurance as to any of the ancient buildings of the outskirts. The advancing town tramples down without pity whatever bars its way. Of the hundred old houses whose likeness and story this book perpetuates, ten are already gone: others, with every shrub and tree cut away, stand like victims bared for the axe: and we know not how many more are doomed.
In the body of the second (1878) edition, the editors note the disappearance or degradation of several mansions in the eight years since the publication of the first edition. New ones, they concede, will arise in their stead and some of these may well be grander than those they replace. Still, “with the old houses we shall root out many an old association that clustered round them.” The theme of the alienation accompanying the passage from old to new patterns of trade and industry is then developed again with emphasis on the dangerous social and political consequences of this development.
The old, it must always be remembered, were in the main the near-hand summer lodgings of men whose home was in Glasgow. The modern are in the main the homes, miles away, of men whom summer scatters still further a-field. The difference is immense socially, and therefore politically: for habit and sentiment are stronger forces in politics than law and reason. That unwritten law of deference to rank that underlay our old code rested itself on the old social conditions. Those whom people here used to own as their natural leaders were kent [known] folk, who made no pretence to count them their equals, but who shared their feelings, opinions and prejudices: who spent their lives within hearing of the Tolbooth chimes: who found in Glasgow, kirk and market, the centre of their interests in business and out of business. Every year the notables of our day grow more of strangers in the place that they live by: spend fewer hours in its smoke and din: outside their own little circle are more and more unknown even by face: till it has come to this, that a man may be in the foremost rank on ‘Change, may by all who know him be looked up to, and recognized as exceptionally fitted by talent, knowledge and force of character for the highest post in the citizens’ gift, and may yet be to the bulk of these so unknown that his candidature is resented as the intrusion of a stranger. The class that used to have the power, those who stand first commercially and socially, are drifting away from their fellow-citizens, and power is ebbing away from them: for the people will not follow leaders whom they do not see and know.
The editors make it clear that they consider this development, which, they emphasize, is taking place not just in Glasgow but in all the major cities of the land, to be socially and politically dangerous.
Some of us take all this lightly: does not the penny of income tax nowadays yield two millions? why croak? Some would even hail with delight the downfall of whatever opposeth or exalteth itself against the Gospel of Equality: if Aristocracy, burgher or territorial, be dying, let it die and let us dance on its grave!
From the editors’ conservative perspective, however, such insouciance reflects a grave misunderstanding:
The commonwealth stood solid and firm when its courses were bonded by mutual acquaintanceship and consideration, common habits and feeling and sympathies. For this kindly cement there is no substitute. Without it, the ancient and imposing edifice opposes to the shock of revolution nothing but the dead weight of its loose parts.
Thomas Annan’s photographs of the old country houses of the old Glasgow gentry thus constituted the visual component of a eulogy of old money as opposed to new, and of the old ruling class of Glasgow—the merchants of the pre-industrial city, who, it is claimed, had been part and parcel of their community—as opposed to enterprising and hustling nouveaux riches with little or no attachment to the community in which their fortunes are made. Appropriately, the images in the book convey a sense of order and stability. Annan brought all his technical skill as a photographer of paintings to bear on the still, silent, stone witnesses to a vanished society.
According to the author of several scholarly articles on Annan, the photographer worked in producing these images within the parameters of the Picturesque movement in painting and photography, “showing the subject in such a way as would be esthetically pleasing by virtue of form, line and texture.” Specifically, “he selected viewpoints which either revealed the mansion at the apex of the carriage-way which led to the front door or which showed the parkland in which the house was situated. He positioned the camera at a discreet distance from his subject, looking up at it rather than down, an indication of respect.” This judgment appears all the more persuasive as Annan himself—as we shall see in the next chapter—once declared his “constant aim” to have been to make his “Photographs like Pictures” (i.e. paintings). The dominant impression made on the viewer by Annan’s photographs of country houses seems to me, nevertheless, to be one of sobriety and restraint. Of the “two distinct approaches to photographing architectural subjects” identified by the authors of a recent book on the topic—a traditional commitment to “documentary veracity” and “an impressionistic, romantic tradition [. . .] fascinated by atmosphere over detail” and best represented by the work of the Pictorialist school of Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz—Annan appears to me to adhere still to the first.
In contrast to the albums of Views on the Line of the Loch Katrine Water Works, which recorded and quietly celebrated a monumental achievement of modern engineering and the foresight and judgment of a modern municipal council, the albums on the country houses in and around Glasgow and in nearby Ayrshire recorded and quietly celebrated the values of tradition and stability symbolized by the often quite modest but tasteful houses of the old gentry. Annan was evidently willing to place his professional expertise at the service of a variety of groups and interests. He was, after all, in business as a professional photographer. It is not surprising therefore that among the numerous photographs in the Annan collections at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, there are many of properties that do not figure in the two printed volumes of country houses. Presumably they were commissioned by individual owners.
In general, Annan’s skill as a photographer was so appreciated that he was often asked to use his camera to record and memorialize visible elements of the environment that, for one reason or another, were fated to disappear. Since the 1840s there had been a sense that the old College of Glasgow (founded in 1451 and the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world) would have to relocate. The old buildings on the High Street could no longer accommodate either the growing number of students crowding the classrooms or the growing number of subjects being taught. In addition, the fabric itself was in poor condition, and the old part of the city in which the college was located had become a slum. An official report of 1858 described how
the localities [. . .] around the College have been filled up by a dense mass of the lowest class of the labouring population, with a considerable admixture of much more unsuitable neighbours, and a large proportion of chemical and other nuisance-creating manufactories of the city. [. . .] The College is, in consequence, surrounded with an atmosphere impregnated with the effluvia arising from the filth occasioned by such a population in a town of which the sewerage is far from being in a satisfactory condition, and with the fumes and vapours of the aforesaid chemical and other manufactories.
No situation, it was asserted, could be “less favourable to the bodily and mental well-being of the youth attending a University or less suitable for conducting the business of a public seminary of instruction.” Attempts were made—in 1846 and again in 1853—to arrange for the University to relocate; finally, in 1865, a new site for it was identified and the funds to finance its construction found. Demolition of the old buildings was inevitable, for there was no question of using taxpayer money to preserve these when it was urgently needed to help finance the new buildings. Besides, part of the funds facilitating the move came from the purchase by the City of Glasgow Union Railway Company of the land on which the old College had stood. By 1870, the move to the new site in the city’s modern, recently-developed West End had been completed.
It was in this context of imminent demolition that, around 1860-1864, Annan began to photograph the buildings of the old College of Glasgow. This resulted in an album of thirteen albumen prints, Photographs of Glasgow College (1866), which was probably commissioned by the College itself—the University arms with the motto Via, Veritas, Vita are cut into the leather binding—and of which one of the rare copies is in Princeton University Library’s Graphic Arts Collection, and a little later in the publication by MacLehose of Memorials of the Old College of Glasgow (1871). This substantial volume consisted of fifteen mounted albumen prints of exterior and a few interior views of the college, each measuring approximately 9¼ x 7¼ inches, together with 26 similarly mounted, slightly smaller (8 ¼ x 6¼) portraits of the professors who, according to the Preface, “formed the Senate at the time of the removal to the New Buildings”; the work also included extensive textual material on the history of the University and of its various faculties.
Annan’s images still constitute an invaluable record of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century fabric of the old College before demolition. The pictures are taken from interesting angles, emphasizing archways, the relation of the buildings to their surrounding spaces, and architectural details. Figures in some of them enliven the scene while also providing a sense of scale (Figs. 5:7-13).
The professors’ portraits, while always respectful and consequently fairly conventional, are executed with attention to good lighting effects and, as noted earlier, do suggest individual character (Figs. 5:14 and 3:3-4).
There is an elegiac quality to both the two country house publications and the album devoted to the old College of Glasgow—an almost inevitable feature of photographs dedicated to familiar sites that are about to disappear or are under threat of demolition and of which the photographer hopes to preserve a permanent image. Both Charles Marville’s photographs of Paris streets in the 1860s and—even more strongly—the later Paris street scenes of Eugène Atget exhibit this quality, as does the work of the photographers who gave their services to the Society for Photographing Relics of Old London, founded in 1875 (Figs. 5:15-18).
All were motivated by a desire to record for the ages old, familiar sites and traditional ways of life threatened by new, fast-changing times—by time itself. Annan’s photographs of the old country houses and the old College have a matter-of-factness, however, an objectivity that precludes sentimentality. Most of the “old country houses,” moreover, were not very old; they dated from the end of the eighteenth century or the early years of the nineteenth, the heyday of the city’s merchant class, which, while lamenting its displacement by brash new industrialists, saw itself as community-minded and committed to civic improvement. Annan himself, as the Loch Katrine album demonstrates, was by no means averse to the new. Of the twelve Photographs of Glasgow, in the album put out by Duthie in 1868, six depict the old city and an equal number the new Glasgow, with its regularly laid out streets and squares, that was arising as the center of the city moved westwards from its crumbling former location: the rebuilt, Telford-designed Glasgow Bridge and the harbor; George Square, the site of impressive monuments to modern heroes (James Watt, Sir Walter Scott, Sir John Moore, Robert Peel, Carlo Marochetti’s equestrian Queen Victoria and Prince Albert); the Royal Exchange, with its equestrian statue of Wellington, also by Marochetti; Buchanan Street, once “fields,” then “villas and gardens,” according to the author of the texts accompanying the photographs, and “now, distinguished by its fine shops and warehouses, [. . .] the most fashionable promenade in the city,” with “600 omnibuses passing the foot [of it] daily”; the elegant Park Circus on the edge of West End Park (or Kelvingrove Park, as it was also called), which had been created in 1852 from plans by Sir Joseph Paxton, the designer of the pioneering cast-iron and plate-glass Crystal Palace at the 1851 Great Exhibition; a model of the new University under construction on the land of the demolished Gilmorehill House (built in 1802 by one of the city’s West Indies merchants and photographed by Annan as it was being demolished) (Figs. 5:19-25).
The verses adorning the title page of the 1868 album convey the Glasgow merchant class’s sense of itself as not only a guardian of threatened traditions but a force for progress and justice in the years of Thomas Annan’s activity as a photographer:
For Christian merchants we make our plea,
The pulse of the business world are we;
With tenants and servants at our command,
And spending ever with liberal hand.
Yet e’en by us how much has been won
For the cause of right. See what we have done!
And say, in view of facts like these,
Do we only live to take our ease?
[LEFT]: 5:1 Thomas Annan, “Bedlay,” from The Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry, 2nd enlarged edition (Glasgow: James MacLehose, 1878). Carbon print. (The photographs in the first edition of 1870 are albumen prints.) Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
[RIGHT]: 5:2 Thomas Annan, “Cochna,” from The Old Country Houses. Carbon print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
[LEFT]: 5:3 Thomas Annan, “Craighead,” from The Old Country Houses. Carbon print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
[RIGHT]: 5:4 Thomas Annan, “Hunterston Castle, West Kilbride,” from Castles and Mansions of Ayrshire, illustrated in seventy views (Edinburgh: W. Paterson, 1885). Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
[LEFT]: 5:5 Thomas Annan, “Mount Charles,” from Castles and Mansions. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
[RIGHT]: 5:6 Thomas Annan, “Ardeer,” from Castles and Mansions. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
[LEFT]: 5:7 Thomas Annan, “The College from College Street,” from the album Photographs of Glasgow College (Glasgow: T. Annan, [1866?]). Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
[RIGHT]: 5:8 Thomas Annan, “The Outer Court with the great stair leading to the Fore-Hall,” from Photographs of Glasgow College. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
[LEFT]: 5:9 Thomas Annan, “The Outer Court from the top of the Fore-Hall stair,” another view, from Photographs of Glasgow College. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
[RIGHT]: 5:10 Thomas Annan, “Archway in Inner Court looking towards the Outer Court with Zachary Boyd’s bust,” from Photographs of Glasgow College. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
[LEFT]: 5:11 Thomas Annan, “Hunterian Museum,” from Memorials of the Old College of Glasgow (Glasgow: Thomas Annan; James MacLehose, 1871), reproduced in University of Glasgow Old and New, illustrated with views and portraits in photogravure (Glasgow: T.&R. Annan & Sons; James MacLehose, 1891), Plate 16. Division of Rare Books, Marquand Library, Princeton University.
[RIGHT]: 5:12 Thomas Annan, “The Professors’ Court,” from Photographs of Glasgow College. Albumen print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
[LEFT]: 5:13 Thomas Annan, “Interior of Hunterian Museum,” from Memorials of the Old College of Glasgow, reproduced in University of Glasgow Old and New, Plate 17. Division of Rare Books, Marquand Library, Princeton University.
[RIGHT]: 5:14 Thomas Annan, Portrait of Professor Allan Thomson, Professor of Anatomy at Glasgow from 1848 to 1877, from Memorials of the Old College of Glasgow. Albumen print. Courtesy of University of Glasgow Library, Department of Special Collections.
[LEFT]: 5:15 Charles Marville, “Impasse Briare.” 1868. Albumen print. Wikimedia.
[RIGHT]: 5:16 Charles Marville, “Rue Traversine (from the rue d’Arras).” Ca.1868. Albumen print. Metropolitan Museum, Gift of Howard Stein, 2010. Accession Number 2010.513.2. ©Metropolitan Museum.
[LEFT]: 5:17 Eugène Atget, “Hôtel de Sens, rue de l’Hôtel de Ville.” Early 1900s. Albumen print. Metropolitan Museum. The Rubel Collection, Gift of William Rubel, 1997. Accession Number 1997.398.2. ©Metropolitan Museum.
[RIGHT]: 5:18 Henry Dixon, “Old Houses in Drury Lane.” 1880. Albumen print. British Library, London.
[LEFT]: 5:19 Thomas Annan, “Glasgow Bridge and Harbour,” from Photographs of Glasgow, with descriptive letterpress by Rev. A.G. Forbes (Glasgow: Andrew Duthie, ), Plate III. Albumen print. Courtesy of Fine Arts Library, Harvard University.
[RIGHT]: 5:20 Thomas Annan, “Trongate and Cross,” from Photographs of Glasgow, Plate IX. Albumen print. Courtesy of Fine Arts Library, Harvard University.
[LEFT]: 5:21 Thomas Annan, “George Square,” from Photographs of Glasgow, Plate II. Albumen print. Courtesy of Fine Arts Library, Harvard University.
[RIGHT]: 5:22 Thomas Annan, “Royal Exchange,” from Photographs of Glasgow, Plate XIII. Albumen print. Courtesy of Fine Arts Library, Harvard University.
[LEFT]: 5:23 Thomas Annan, “Buchanan Street,” from Photographs of Glasgow, Plate XII. Albumen print. Courtesy of Fine Arts Library, Harvard University.
[RIGHT]: 5:24 Thomas Annan, “West End Park,” from Photographs of Glasgow, Plate X. Albumen print. Courtesy of Fine Arts Library, Harvard University.
5:25 Thomas Annan, “Gilmorehill,” from The Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry, 2nd enlarged edition (Glasgow: James MacLehose, 1878). Carbon print. Graphic Arts Collection, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
54. A modern edition of this work, in somewhat altered format, was published in 2004 by the Grimsay Press of Kilkerran, in south Ayrshire, Scotland, a publisher of books, new and old, on Scottish topics.
55. See the excellent article by Julie Lawson, “The Problem of Poverty and the Picturesque: Thomas Annan’s Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow 1868-1871,” Scottish Photography Bulletin, 2 (1990), 40-46.
56. Of The Old Country Houses, only about 120 copies of the 1870 edition were printed and the majority of the subscribers were the property-owners themselves, though several subscribers gave London as their residence, two Bombay, and one Edinburgh. 225 copies of the 1878 edition were printed and, once again, most of the subscribers were local, though one was a resident of Washington D.C. and another of New York City. Of The Castles and Mansions of Ayrshire, only 200 copies were printed, according to its 2004 republisher, the Grimsay Press.
57. “Memoir of the Author,” signed G.N., in Mitchell’s Old Glasgow Essays (Glasgow: James MacLehose and Sons; London: Macmillan, 1905), pp. xvii-xxviii (p. xxiv). The son of a city lawyer, Mitchell (b. 1826) was in the leather trade, but devoted much of his leisure time to antiquarian and local history pursuits. In recognition of these he was awarded an honorary LL.D. by Glasgow University.
58. Passages quoted are from the two Introductions, Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry, 2nd ed. (Glasgow: James MacLehose, 1878), pp. ix-xvi. It should be noted that the conservatism of the editors extended well beyond a lament for the disappearance of the “old gentry.” In their Introduction to the 1870 edition, they also noted with regret and concern the displacement by the expanding city of a class of smallholders who worked their own modest tracts of land: “There are other old country houses, scattered here and there round Glasgow, that it will never be worth any one’s while to photograph, nor to decipher their trifling annals: little old one-storied farm-steadings, of the familiar Scotch type, with a but and a ben, a byre, a stable, may-be a cart-shed, and in the middle a through-gang to the kail-yard behind. They mostly stand alone: sometimes two or three nestle together into a little ‘town.’ Labourers, probably Irish, live in them, or they stand, with windows and thatch gone, like deserted shielings in a Highland glen. But a race once lived in them as proud as any Tobacco Lord [the 18th and early 19th century burgher aristocracy of Glasgow was largely composed of families active in tobacco importing and processing] of them all. For the few acres they laboured were their own, and had belonged to their forebears for generations back, and they knew that their class had done its full share in the making of Scotland. But the stars in their courses, on both sides of the Tweed, fight against the small proprietor, and, like the Yeomen and Statesmen of England, these Bonnet Lairds are mostly gone—gone and forgotten. Their little freeholds are broken up for villas, or lost in some bigger estate, the very names rubbed off the map.” (p. xiii)
59. Thus the reader is informed in the entry on Craigpark House in the 1878 edition that “Provost McKenzie’s house is gone” (p. 66); in the entry on Meadow Park House that “Meadow Park house, like its stately neighbour Whitehill, has now made way for a row of ‘flatted tenements’.” (p. 179) Gairbraid House “is much altered since the photograph was taken. In fact the old place may be said to be gone. The magnificent avenue of beech trees has been cut down, the woods on the banks of the Kelvin have been ruthlessly swept away, and the old house now stands naked and forlorn amidst a wilderness of ‘free coups,’ broken bottles and bricks, pools of dirty water, clothes lines fluttering with parti-coloured rags and all the abominations of a new suburb. Instead of the singing of the birds and the music of the soft flowing Kelvin, the air is now vocal with the discordant voices of rough men, scolding women, and ‘greeting bairns,’ and with the clang of machinery and the hiss of the steam engine.” (p. 102) As for Annfield, the editors had already noted in the text of the 1870 edition, reproduced in that of 1878, that it “was once a beautiful suburban villa, embosomed in trees, and perfectly retired. But the unceasing extension of the City has […] completely changed its rural character. The gardens are now intersected by streets, both sides of the old highway built: and all that is recognizable of the Annfield of olden time is the house itself, yet lingering in a new street leading up to it from Gallowgate, but doomed to early destruction.” (p. 3)
60. Margaret Harker, “From Mansion to Close: Thomas Annan, Master Photographer,” The Photographic Collector, 5 (1984), 81-96 (p. 83). The Picturesque movement in photography is often considered a forerunner of the Pictorial movement at the end of the century and in the early decades of the twentieth century: i.e. it sought to establish photography as an art, by emphasizing the formal features of the images produced by the photographer and his own role in selecting them. See endnote 98 below.
61. “Historically, two distinct approaches to photographing architectural subjects can be identified. The early photography of architecture [. . .] was founded on an implicit trust in the medium’s documentary veracity, and adhered to strict representational conventions intended to maintain its supposed neutrality and objectivity: the influential French Commission des monuments historiques, for example, began the process of documenting France’s historical treasures with a strict set of rules for how its cathedrals and châteaux would be recorded. [. . .] An almost diametrically opposite approach [. . .] originates with the language of early art photography, which was very much indebted to the conventions of painting. [. . .] It was against the rules set out for the ‘proper’ documentation of architecture and monuments that many of the Pictorialists rebelled. The English photographer [Frederik] Evans thus chose to evoke rather than record the cathedrals of northern France in soft and atmospheric focus. In the United States, Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler moved towards a harder line in work which developed elements of the abstract.” (Andre Higgott and Timothy Way, eds., “Introduction,” Camera Constructs: Photography, Architecture and the Modern City [Farnham: Ashgate, 2012], pp. 11-12)
62. Report of the Buildings of Glasgow University appended to the Report of the Scottish Universities Commission of 1858, cited in J.D. Mackie, The University of Glasgow 1451-1951: A Short History (Glasgow: Jackson, 1954), p. 280. The report was published in 1863. See also J. Morrison in Sanitary Journal, 1 (1877), p. 268: “There was in the very heart of the city one of the foulest ulcers that ever disgraced a modern city. Every approach to the old University was through a moral sewer of a most loathsome description, crowded with population, showing by its physique the extent to which the human form divine could be degraded by drunkenness and every attendant form of vice and profligacy.” (cit. by C.M. Allan, “The Genesis of British Urban Redevelopment with Special Reference to Glasgow,” Economic History Review, new series, 18 , 598-613 [pp. 602-03])
63. An updated edition of this work, limited to 350 sumptuously produced in-folio copies, with extensive and richly informed historical texts, additional photographs of the new University buildings and portraits of the current professors (i.e. heads of department) in each of the departments of the University’s four faculties of Arts, Theology, Law and Medicine, was published by T. & R. Annan & Sons and James MacLehose & Sons in 1891, using the photogravure process, under the title University of Glasgow Old and New. Princeton University’s Marquand Library owns copy number 150.
64. The previously mentioned (endnote 38) Historical Notices of the United Presbyterian Congregations in Glasgow, edited by John Logan Aikman, with photographs by Thomas Annan (Glasgow: Thomas Annan, 1875) contained over fifty photographs of the church buildings, along with portraits of the ministers.
From Thomas Annan of Glasgow: Pioneer of the Documentary Photograph