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Introducing the Howarth-Loomes Collection

Watch as photo historian Denis Pellerin introduces stereographic images from the Howarth-Loomes Collection in a video with Dr. Alison Morrison-Low.
Denis can you introduce yourself and tell us who you are and what it is that you do? My name is Denis Pellerin. I am the curator of Dr. Brian May’s photographic collection, the director of the London Stereoscopic Company and also a photo historian specializing in 19th century stereo photography in France and Britain. Can you tell us something about the collections held here. A few months ago I came here to Edinburgh to see the opening of exhibition called Photography A Victorian Sensation and I loved it so much I decided to get to know more about the collection, about the Howarth-Loomes Collection. He was a collector.
He collected from the 1960s onward until he died and the collection is on loan here at the museum. I was told there were hundreds of stereos to look at and I’m curious, I’m always curious when it comes in stereo. I decided to come and spend a few days here going through the collection trying to find things I’ve never seen before and helping with my expertise when I could. What is it about this collection that interests you? It was begun very early in the 1960s at a time when nobody was really interested in collecting stereos Cartes-de-visite or or that kind of photography. Bernard Howarth-Loomes actually managed to buy very interesting things in very good condition which is difficult to find nowadays.
Over the years he gathered an amazing collection and such a variety of photographs subject matters and also processes. He has daguerreotypes he has ambrotypes he has paper photos. A very interesting collection. The fact that it was never scattered away that it’s the whole collection is very interesting because it shows what his interests were. They are some very nice daguerreotypes obviously and these are very early photographs from the 1850s the beginning of stereo. He has also some nice series and very nice genre views as well. Nicely tinted in very, very good condition, which is very rare which is getting rarer and rarer to find.
What do you plan to do with the research that you’ll do on the collections you’ve seen in your visit here? What I’ve found are more questions to be answered. What I plan to do is carry on with the research trying to find who some of the photographers were of the photos I’ve found and try and understand some of the pictures I found as well because some of them are a bit mysterious. We don’t really understand what’s going on because that was 160 years or 50 years ago and things that were obvious at the time, after so many years have become very obscure.

Before we explore the science of stereoscopy, let’s find out a bit more about the collection of images that we will be looking at.

In this video, photo historian and stereograph expert Denis Pellerin introduces the Howarth-Loomes Collection while in conversation with Dr. Alison Morrison-Low, Principal Curator of Science and Technology, at the National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh, on 21 October 2015.

Most of the images we will explore in this course are from the Howarth-Loomes collection.

The late Bernard Howarth-Loomes and his wife Alma put together a magnificent and enormous collection that consists of about 18,000 items, all relating to Victorian photography. Of this, almost 12,000 are stereocards. After his death in 2002, his collection came to National Museums Scotland, where it is generously promised as a bequest in due course by his widow.

We will hear more from Denis Pellerin and Dr. Alison Morrison-Low later in this course. You can explore more stereo images from National Museums Scotland on Pinterest.

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Stereoscopy: An Introduction to Victorian Stereo Photography

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